Director of the Karnal-based Indian Institute of Wheat & Barley Research (IIWBR), GP Singh said that higher yields in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh could lift wheat output to a record high.
This is even as the extended winter has already delayed the harvest in Haryana and Punjab by a week.
Mr. Singh said the wheat harvest is presently on in Madhya Pradesh, where the yields are 5 to 10 % higher. He added “It will be a record crop & we stick to our previous estimate of 105 million tonnes (mt)”. However, if there is any heavy rainfall in the days ahead, it can affect the harvest as well as quality.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture Ministry, in its 2 advance estimates has pegged the production of wheat at 99.12 mt.
In Haryana and Punjab, the harvest is expected to start a week after Baisakhi. Singh said, “The crop condition is good & the prevailing night temperatures are hovering in the range of 16 to 17 degrees Celsius and the maximum temperature is around 33 degrees. Soon as the minimum temperature crosses 20 degrees, the crop will grow fast and will be ready to harvest,”
Procurement starts in MP
The new wheat crop at the market in Indore is being sold at Rs. 1,825 to 2,200 per quintal, depending upon the quality of the crop. And the mill quality wheat is being sold at Rs. 1,825-50.
A trader, Manoj Kala said, “Amid enthusiastic crop reports, demand from the millers is relatively weak”.
At present, about 18,000 to 19,000 bags of wheat are being offloaded at the market in Indore on daily basis and this is likely to increase in the coming days.
Madhya Pradesh began procuring wheat from growers registered with the designated government agencies from 25 March, at the rate of Rs. 1,840 a quintal. However, the speed of public procurement is yet to gain momentum due to lack of information among cultivators and the government machinery’s unpreparedness at authorised procurement centres, informed a wholesale wheat trader Ravi Sharda.
MP has announced a bonus of Rs. 160 / quintal to farmers selling their produce either at the mandis or through the government procurement centres.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that the western disturbances will continue to move across the North-West India in the first ten days of April.
Disturbances with changeable intensity continued their run into March and now are threatening to bring thunderstorms, lightning and odd hailstorm into April too, which could perhaps pose a challenge to the wheat crop.
An early sign of how the unstable weather can prove dangerous came last week from Nepal, downstream to East & bordering Bihar, where thunderstorms killed 25 people and injured 400 others.