WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — India’s ministry of agriculture released its third advance estimate of production of food grains on May 9 for the Indian crop year (ICY) 2015-16 (July-June), marginally lowering its grain production estimate to 252.2 million tonnes, down 1 million tonnes compared to the second advance estimate released in February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) said in a May 31 report. Despite second consecutive deficient monsoon rainfall and shortage of irrigation water, both ground and surface, the government is estimating 2015-16 food grain production higher than last year, largely on expected higher production of wheat.

The ICY 2015-16 grain production estimate includes market year 2015-16 rice, coarse grains and pulse crops harvested last fall (kharif crop) and this spring (rabi crop), as well as the market year 2016-17 wheat and barley (rabi crop) harvested in March-May 2016.

Typically the third advance estimates are based on the provisional acreage estimates for both kharif and rabi crops; provisional yield estimates for the kharif crops based on the crop cutting survey reports from major states, and crop condition survey reports conducted before the harvest of the rabi crops. Market sources believe that the government’s third advance estimate for wheat is highly optimistic given the weak pace of market arrivals and “unofficial” reports of yield realization in various states. India’s ministry of agriculture will further revise the ICY 2015-16 estimate in August (fourth advance estimate) based on the revised data from various state governments on acreage and yields (based on crop cutting experiments) for both kharif and rabi crops. The ICY 2015-16 estimates are likely to be finalized in January-February 2017, to be released with the second advance estimate for ICY 2016-17.

Riding on the expectations of above normal 2016 monsoon, India’s ministry of agriculture has set a target of 270.1 million tonnes for the upcoming ICY 2016-17, nearly 5 million tonnes higher than the record production realized in ICY 2013-14.

The production target for individual crops is – rice record 108.5 million tonnes, wheat record 96.5 million tonnes, coarse grains record 44.4 million tonnes and pulses record 20.8 million tonnes. Last year the government had set the ICY 2015-16 grain production target of 264.1 million tonnes.