Reports over the past several weeks have pointed to cuts in India's kharif or winter crop potential, and perhaps even jeopardize the country's push for self-sufficiency in pulse crop production. First, heavy rains were received late in the monsoon months of July and August, with overall accumulations reaching 110% of the long-term average.
The major challenge for the kharif crop came with what is viewed as erratic rainfall received after the monsoon period, which totaled 132% of average across the country, with the northwest region of the country receiving rainfall that totaled 121% above average.
On Monday, the National Bulk Handling Corporation (NBHC) released revised estimates for India's summer or kharif crop production, estimating that the potential for all crops will be trimmed from previous estimates.
The summer pulse crop is relied upon to produce roughly 35% of the nation's total 25 million metric ton (mmt) pulse crop. The Government of India initially set a target of 10.1 mmt, while their first advance estimates included a forecast of 8.23 mmt, which compares to 8.59 mmt produced in 2018-19 and the five-year average of 7.748 mmt.
Monday's NBHC report included lower revisions that would see tur production down 10.47% from 2018-19, urad production down 18.38% and moong production down 27.38% from last year. A revision for the other pulses category was not reported, although a revision lower can be expected.
This particular study would point to total kharif production of 7.45 mmt, below the 2018-19 production as well as the five-year average, while may point to the need for increased imports.
Focus will shift to the Rabi or winter crop, where the remaining approximately 65% of the country's production is achieved. The Government of India's All-Weather Summary and Forecast Bulletin reports total Rabi planting up 8% as of Jan. 10 for the same period in 2018-19 and above normal.
Pulse planting is reported at 37.376 million acres as of Jan. 8 and above normal, up 4.7% from the same period in 2018-19 and 4% higher than normal. This increase is almost entirely due to planting of chickpeas, while lentil planting is trailing both 2018-19 and the five-year average. A lag in planting progress in the largest producing state for lentils of Madhya Pradesh bears watching.
Monday's statpub.com bids for lentils delivered to Saskatchewan plants shows signs of strength when compared to Friday's close, after dipping lower in early 2020. Large green lentils are bid at $26/cwt, above the $22.43/cwt reported this time last year, while down from the $26.50 recent high shown for much of December. Red lentils are also higher, reported at $21.14/cwt delivered Saskatchewan plants, up from $18.53 reported this time last year and the strongest bid reported since October 2017.
The same report shows yellow peas up slightly at $6.98 per bushel (bu) delivered Saskatchewan plants. This is down from $7.37/bu reported this time last year, while the strongest bid seen since March. Green peas are bid lower this week at $11.66/bu, still above the $10.50 reported this time last year.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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