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Karnal Farmers Rejoice as Wheat Remains Standing Despite Heatwave Warnings

Farmers in Karnal, India remain optimistic as a heatwave strikes the region, with their wheat crop in late flowering stages appearing to be unaffected and robust. Officials agree with the farmers' observations, and weather forecasts suggest that temperatures will remain favorable for grain-filling, boding well for India's wheat supply and potentially leading to a review of the government's previous ban.

Eashani Chettri
Karnal farmers are optmistic as the wheat remains unaffected despite higher temperatures
Karnal farmers are optmistic as the wheat remains unaffected despite higher temperatures

Karnal farmers remain unfazed after the heatwave that has been striking the region. Their wheat crop- in its late flowering stages remains unaffected and robust. A farmer of the region, Birendra Singh, said, “The temperature has been slightly above normal and even the yellow rust disease has not had an occurrence thus far.”

Singh has sown wheat on 6.5 hectares of land and is expecting to harvest 6 tons per hectare. This is a high yield compared to the Indian average of 3-3.5 tons per hectare.

Similar attitudes are observed among farmers even 150 km further from the region. A farmer, Vikash Chaudhary of the Karnal district stated that the crop hasn’t shown any sign of heat stress.

Choudhary grows popular seed kinds; last year, the harvest from his fields dropped from 7 tons per hectare to 5.7 tons. Officials agree with the farmers on this. Rajbir Yadav, the principal scientist at, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, stated, “India has been progressing towards better wheat production in 2023, keeping in mind the temperature scenario for the next 15 days.”

Weather forecasters predict that temperatures will continue favorable for "grain-filling" during the crucial next couple of weeks. This bodes well for the 2023 grain supply worldwide as well as for the nation's wheat stocks. Despite the fact that domestic wheat inflation is still strong, the price of wheat has decreased globally in recent months.

Farmers belonging to Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh all speak of good prospects. Domestic supplies had decreased since mid-2022 and prices had increased- the new harvest is expected to stabilize them. If all fares well with the weather, the government may review the ban imposed in previous May.

From a record high of $530 per ton in September 2022 to $260 per ton on Wednesday, wheat futures at the Chicago Board of Trade have fallen by half. This price is quite near to the minimum support price (MSP) for wheat in India at the present exchange rate.

The wheat in Uttar Pradesh is nearing harvest, and the wheat in the eastern parts of the state is doing well too. In Punjab and Haryana, harvesting is expected to begin by the end of March 2023.

The government forecasts a record wheat harvest of 112.2 million tonnes (MT) for the current crop year (2022-23), compared to 109 MT last year (traders estimate the output last year was even lower at 96-99 MT). The Roller Flour Millers' Federation of India commissioned Agriwatch to conduct the survey, which put the wheat production in the crop year 2022–2023 at 108–110 MT.

The FCI held 10.7 MT of wheat stocks as of Thursday, compared to a buffer of 7.4 MT for April 1. The amount of wheat purchased by the FCI and state agencies from April to June 2022 increased by 57% to 18.8 MT.

February had witnessed spikes in temperature causing warnings for poor wheat yield. However, the temperatures have remained around 30-33 degrees which is not bad for standing wheat. The temperature is likely to remain around 30 degree Celsius because of the accompanying rainfall and thunderstorms.

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