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EIGHT districts in the State have recorded `excess' or `normal' rainfall during the period from March 1-16, the latter part of which saw the commencement of the summer rain season.

According to Agromet Bulletin dated March 17 issued by the Met Office, Thiruvananthapuram, all these districts fell in the central-to-southern geographies of the State, leaving almost the entire north - Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode and Malappuram - high and dry. Wayanad (excess) was the sole exception.

Chief amounts of rainfall in cm are (March 14 to March 16):

March 14: Munnar - 4; Aryankavu - 3; Thodupuzha - 2; and Devikolam and Kanjirappally - 1 each

March 15: Kanjirappally and Mannarkad - 1 each

March 16: Kanjirappally - 2

Mean maximum temperature varied between 32°C and 38°C in various districts.

Vellanikkara (Thrissur) recorded the highest maximum of 38°C on March 14 and 15. Mean minimum temperature varied between 21°C and 26°C, with Kottayam recording the lowest minimum of 20.0°C on March 14.

Mean relative humidity varied between 64 per cent and 80 per cent, mean cloud coverage between two okta and five okta and mean wind speed between two kmph and 14 kmph.

Forecast valid until the morning of March 19 spoke about the possibility of rain/thundershowers at isolated places in all districts. Outlook for the two subsequent days did not indicate any significant change.

Stage and state of crops: Harvesting operations continue in the late-planted and medium duration varieties in mundakan paddy. Puncha, the third summer crops, is in the tillering stage.

Irrigation and plant protection measures are the major activities being taken up in this paddy crop.

Massive spraying operation against the Eriophid mite is being persisted with in coconut.

Intercultural operations, plant protection measures and shading of young plants are being carried out side by side with harvesting operations in coconut and arecanut.

Grooming of rooted pepper cuttings is also going on. Rubber tapping continues to be affected in most areas due to winter leaf fall. Monthly top dressing and intercultural operations are in progress in banana as also in tapioca and vegetables. Cashew saw harvesting begin in some places.

Farm advisory: Paddy fields should be watched for leaf folder and rice thrips. Blast and blight diseases should also be guarded against.

Sowing of pulses and vegetables has been completed on fallow lands.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 18, 2005)
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