USDA sees India's 2013-14 wheat crop lower than govt estimate
New Delhi: The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has pegged India's wheat production at 87 million tonne (MT) this year, which is lower by seven percent from the government's latest estimate of 93.6 MT.
The USDA has revised downward India's wheat production estimate from 92 MT to 87 MT due to lower crop yields. Wheat crop was sown in the 2012-13 crop year (July-June) and is being marketed in 2013-14 starting April.
India's "marketing year 2013-14 production estimate is revised lower to 87 MT due to lower than anticipated yields in major wheat growing states", it said in its latest report.
On the government's wheat procurement, the USDA said it is significantly lower and is estimated to reach 26 MT this year compared to 38.2 MT last year, easing the foodgrain storage crisis, it said.
Wheat exports are also expected to slowdown at 5 MT due to lower government wheat exports, it added.
Citing reasons for wheat production fall this year, the USDA said the preliminary harvest reports from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh indicate 8-10 percent lower yields compared to last year due to smaller kernel size and increase in shrunken kernels compared to last year.
Agricultural experts attribute the lower yield to abnormal winter rains, higher minimum day temperature and higher humidity in February-March.
"These factors together adversely affected tillering, and disrupted the 'normal' ripening process resulting in lower grain setting, smaller grain size and more shrunken kernels. The rains and high humidity also led to higher incidence of rust in north India and lodging in the early harvested wheat varieties," the report said.
The USDA further said relatively lower market arrivals and government procurement compared to last year have resulted in a downward bias on the production estimates of some industry sources.
Some market sources report that farmers and local traders are holding this year's harvest based on last year's market price trends, it said.
Market sources expect market arrivals to continue after government procurement ends in June as farmers will continue to bring wheat to the market in anticipation of higher prices, it added.