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Excessive rains may bring down production, yield

Above-normal rainfall across central, south-peninsular & western India could affect yield & production of crops in kharif growing states.

Updated: Sep 26, 2013, 11.08 AM IST
NEW DELHI|KOLKATA: Above-normal rainfall across central, south-peninsular and western India could affect the yield and production of standing crops of soybean, cotton, paddy and pulses in certain pockets of kharif growing states. Soybean cultivation in Madhya Pradesh, the largest producer, has been affected due to excessive rains this year.

Though the Soybean Processors Association (SOPA) is yet to come out with official figures of the crop, farmers from Hosangabad, Harda, Raisen and Sehore districts say that there has been a near 40% crop loss.

Leeladhar Rajput, president of Madhya Pradesh Ktantikari Kishan Parishad, said: “Soybean farmers have suffered badly due to rains. Fields were waterlogged even during the time of harvest.” Though SOPA spokesperson Rajesh Agarwal admitted to some crop losses in Madhya Pradesh, he also pointed out that a higher yield of soybean in Maharashtra is likely to make up for the losses.

In the previous year, the country produced 126 lakh tonne of soybean on 106.5 lakh hectares. Though the acreage was increased to 122 lakh hectares this kharif, heavy rains dented higher production. “We may end up with 126 lakh tonne of produce this year as well,” the SOPA spokesperson said. He added that arrivals of new crop have come down in the last week due to rains in Madhya Pradesh.

Currently, a quintal of soybean commands Rs 3,450-. 3,500 at the mandi. Paddy cultivation, however, has shown a mixed trend. In Bihar and Jharkhand, paddy cultivation suffered a major setback due to sparse rains which affected seed beds and prevented farmers from transplanting.

On the other hand, heavy rainfall hurt paddy cultivation in Karnataka, making transplantation of paddy saplings nearly impossible. In some villages, nurseries and saplings that were transplanted were washed away in floods. While farmers in these villages had to transplant the crops again, they also had to remove weeds and provide an additional dose of fertilisers.

Production was also affected due to high moisture content in paddy, a majority of which later fell prey to blast diseases. Continuous rainfall for the past four days across Gujarat has been worrying for both cotton and pulses.

“The harvest will be delayed by a fortnight and there might be 5-7 % damage in the tur crop,” said Mitesh Patel, president of the Gujarat Pulses and Manufacturing Association. The crop sown in June-July is harvested in November-December. Harvesting of tur dal begins from the first week of November in Maharashtra.

Subsequently , it also starts in Andhra Pradesh , Karnataka , Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The southwest monsoon performed well with 5% excess rainfall as on September 24. Madhya Pradesh , Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka have enjoyed more than normal rainfall.

According to the MeT Department, rainfall is expected to be normal for the rest of the season ending September. Dhiren Sheth, president of the Cotton Association of India said that the situation was not worrisome so far. “If rains continue then there might be a problem. If it becomes sunny in the next few days, then the situation will improve,” he said.

Currently, the crop is in the ball-development stage and the first flush of cotton picking may begin in some pockets of Punjab and Haryana shortly. Being the world’s second-largest cotton exporter and producer, cotton in India is planted on an average 11-12 million hectares during the early-to-late kharif season across nine states.

Even though growers appear to be concerned about the crops, agri-experts feel that the rains will not have a huge impact on the kharif crop this year. “This year, paddy will get a bumper crop due to good monsoon. Some damage to the standing crop like soyabean, cotton, pulses crop is there but that may not be significant ,” said Dr A Janaiah, head of school of Agribusiness Management, ANGR Agri University Hyderabad.
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