January 3, 2014
USDA: India's wheat acreage may set new record this year
A US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report says that India's total area sown for wheat this year is expected to surpass the previous record of 29.9 million hectares in 2012-13.
"Higher planting has been reported in most states on optimal soil moisture conditions and timely harvest of the preceding kharif (summer) crops," the report said.
USDA report also pointed out that with adequate soil moisture conditions and adequate water availability in the major reservoirs and irrigation systems, wheat planting conditions have been generally favourable across the major growing states in India.
Temperatures have fallen in wheat-growing regions in the recent weeks, providing favourable early growing conditions for wheat, the USDA report added. Wheat sowing in the major growing states has almost been completed, except for some late planting in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar following the sugarcane harvest.
The report also said that India's wheat production will "largely depend on winter rains (December to January) and warmer temperatures during the critical grain filling and ripening stages in February and March".
According to the Indian Agriculture Ministry's data, India has already sown wheat - a key winter (rabi) crop - in 28.69 million hectares. Wheat sowing begins from October, and harvesting from April in the country, the world's second largest grower.
India's previous record of wheat output was 94.88 million tonnes in the 2011-12 crop year, which started in July 2011 and ended in June 2012.