India’s wheat production is heading for a record in the current crop season 2020 July-2021 June on rise in acreage and change in varietal mix aided by a favourable weather.

“The crop is in good condition across all wheat-producing States and we are heading for another record harvest, which could range between 112 and 114 million tonnes this year,” said Director of the Karnal-based Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research GP Singh.

In 2019-20, wheat production, according to the Agriculture Ministry’s fourth advance estimates, was pegged at 107.59 million tonnes (mt).

High-yielding variety

Farmers have planted over a million hectares more this year and bulk of the increase has been registered in Madhya Pradesh. Also, farmers have planted the new high-yielding variety DBW187 between two and three million hectares, mainly in Punjab and Haryana, which will contribute to increase in output this year, Singh said.

DBW187 — released in 2019 and recommended for all wheat-growing States in the Indo-Gangetic belt from West Bengal to Jammu — is resistant to all diseases including wheat blast. It has higher protein content of around 12.5 per cent and yields up to eight tonnes per hectare, Singh said.

DBW 187 has better bread and chapati making quality with higher gluten and protein content, which are as good as international standards, Singh said. The prevailing popular wheat varieties are HD-3086 and HD-2967.

Singh said that in Madhya Pradesh the harvest will begin in the next few days. “The crop is good in Western, Central and Eastern UP. Even in Bengal and Bihar the crop is good. On an average, in the wheat growing areas the crop is good across the country,” he added.


Swelling stocks

Wheat stocks in the Central pool stood at a record 31.83 mt as on February 1 this year. The USDA has estimated India’s wheat output to be about 107.6 mt.

“The huge wheat crop and higher carry forward stocks will be a problem for the Government, trade and millers,” said Pramod Kumar S, Senior Vice-President of The Roller Flour Millers Association of India.

“The opening stocks in April will be around 28-29 mt, about 4-5 mt higher than last year. With an expected procurement of around 42 mt, it will be an interesting scenario for wheat. Moreover, this time we will not have Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY),” he said. Under the PMGKY, the Centre issued 10 mt of wheat and rice free of cost to the below poverty line people to tide over problems such as unemployment caused by novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Stocks are higher despite exports rising over five times to 9.76 lakh tonnes during the current fiscal against 1.71 lakh tonnes last fiscal. Kumar said the new crop from the early sown variety has started arriving in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and is traded at around at ₹1,700 per quintal — lower than the MSP of ₹1,975 fixed for this year wheat.

On Tuesday, new wheat arriving in Gujarat markets traded between ₹1,600 and ₹1,800 a quintal.

“At the current MSP rates, we are getting wheat delivered at the factory gate today,” Kumar, who is also a miller in Bengaluru, said. “The new crop is quoted around ₹2,050-2,070 per quintal for delivery in Bangalore goodshed. We expect it to fall to around ₹2,000 levels going ahead,” he said.