India's Agriculture Ministry just released their 1st Advance Estimates for the 2017/18 Kharif or summer crop. The country's foodgrain production is estimated at 134.67 million metric tons, down 3.86 mmt in size from last year's record Kharif crop, but 6.43 mmt or 4.9% higher than the previous five-year average.
As seen on the accompanying chart, the summer pulse crop is expected to achieve production of 8.71 mmt, which is .72 mmt or 7.5% below last year's Kharif crop of 9.42 mmt. While perhaps supportive for prices, this level of production is well above the previous five-year average of 6.5 mmt. This is almost identical to the 8.70 mmt estimate released in the 2016/17 1st Advance Estimate.
This production estimate is partially tied to a slightly lower seeded acreage given current estimates. As of September 8, the last weekly Friday planting report released by the Agriculture Ministry, acres planted to pulses were estimated at 34.389 million acres, down 3.9% from the same date in 2016/17. The monsoon season, which lasts from June 1 through September 6, is reported to have delivered rains that averaged 5% below the long-term average across the country, ranging from flooding in some areas to dry conditions in others, which affected planting of the summer crop.
This overall moisture deficit has not changed in precipitation maps as of September 20, which continues to show the all-India area weighted rainfall being 5% behind the long-term average. North-central regions of the country continue to face a deficit of 20% to 59% in relation to the long-term average.
Perhaps the bigger question will be the impact these conditions will have on planting of the much larger Rabi or winter pulse crop. In six of the past seven years, including the past four years, the Rabi crop grew in size with the Kharif crop and vice versa. In three of the six years, an average 7.6% drop in Kharif production resulted in an average 6.6% drop in Rabi production later in the season.
To date, Canada's bulk dry pea exports are off to a weak start. As of week seven or the week ending September 17, a reported 452,400 metric tons of dry peas were exported, down 48% from 2016/17, the smallest volume exported in this period in five years and 25% below the five-year average.
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