India’s 2021-22 wheat output seen rising on higher yields

India’s wheat harvest is expected to rise to 110 million tonnes in the crop year 2021-22 (July-June), from 108 million tonnes a year ago, as higher yields offset a drop in the planting area during the current crop season, according to a S&P Global Platts survey of 11 analysts and traders.

The bigger harvest is likely due to expected higher yields this season. Trade estimates for the country’s 2020-21 wheat output were slightly lower than the government’s projection of 109.5 million tonnes wheat harvest during the year.

Wheat, the second-largest food grain sown in India after rice, is planted during October-November and harvested in February-March. India’s agriculture ministry is expected to release its estimates later this month.

Wheat was sown across 34.24 million hectares as of Jan. 28, down 3.5% on the year, according to India’s agriculture ministry. The seeded area under the food grain increased sharply over the year in major states, such as Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, while remaining steady on the year in states, such as Punjab, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. The sown area declined on the year in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

“Market participants see the output rising despite the fall in area in key states, like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, due to recent rainfall in major growing region,” a trader with a multi-national grain trading company said.

Winter rains in India between Jan. 1 and Feb. 3 were 115% above average at 40.2 mm, according to India’s Meteorological Department. In central and northwest India — the key wheat growing regions — showers were higher than the average by 177% and 122%, respectively.

Showers during the ripening stage typically lift the crop’s yields, increasing the overall output, an agricultural scientist with Indian Council of Agricultural Research told Platts. India’s wheat exports from the crop produced in crop year 2021-22 are likely to fall in the marketing year 2022-23 (April-March), following a surge in MY 2021-22.

India exported 4.1 million tonnes of wheat during April-November, nearly six-fold higher on the year, according to the data from Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. The US Department of Agriculture expects India to ship around 5.25 million tonnes during MY 2021-22. Traders anticipate a decline in India’s export shipments in the next marketing year, as supplies from Australia and Argentina have risen.

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