India's government released its Second Advance Estimates on Tuesday to show expectations for record food grain production of 277.49 million metric tons. This volume is .9% higher than achieved in 2016/17, with gains seen in such crops as rice, coarse grains and pulse crops. Wheat production is estimated to be 1.4% lower at 97.1 mmt, given a drop in seeded acres. Production of all nine oilseeds is expected to fall by 4.5%, to 298.8 mmt, which includes a 4.8-mmt reduction in rapeseed production.
Total production of pulses for 2017/18 is estimated to reach a record 23.95 mmt, up 3.5% from the previous year. This includes a slight upward revision in the country's summer or Kharif crop production to 8.83 mmt along with a first estimate of the winter or Rabi crop's production of 15.11 mmt. This includes a year-over-year reduction in summer crop production of 7.8%, while the larger winter crop production is expected to increase by 11.5% year-over-year.
As of February data released by India's Department of Agriculture, pulse crop planting for the Rabi crop was pegged at 41.1 million acres, up 5.3% from the same week in the year prior. The current production estimate is over one million tons higher than the 22.9 mmt crop year estimate set earlier in the crop year. Year-over-year gains are largely due to a significant increase in winter crop chickpea production of 1.72 mmt, or 18.3%, to 11.1 mmt.
India's Meteorological Department data may perhaps tell a different story. In data reported from Jan. 1-through-Feb. 28, one of the 36 Subdivisions in the country is rated "large excess" in terms of moisture received and two of 36 are rated normal. At the same time, 10 are rated deficient, 22 are rated large deficient and one is rated no rain. Overall, during this period, the departure from the long-term average for the entire country is rated at 63%. This is the largest departure seen for this period over the past five years, with departures seen for this week in three of the five years (2015 to 2017), the largest being 57% in 2016. The five-year average points to an average departure from normal of just 6.4%. This time last year, the rainfall departure over this period was just 5%.
The IMD also released a press release on Wednesday, which forecast temperatures in the March-to-May period to be above average.
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