Agri Business

Above-normal June rains brighten Kharif sowing outlook

Tomojit Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on June 23, 2015

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A better-than-expected start to the South-West monsoon this year has brightened the outlook for Kharif sowing, with rains advancing further into Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, and covering Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Sowing is gathering pace with most States having received normal to above-normal rain between June 1 and 23 with cumulative rainfall at least 21 per cent above normal as on Tuesday.

Interestingly, officials and experts appear to be showing more faith in private agency Skymet’s prediction of a normal monsoon at 102 per cent of the 50-year Long Period Average (LPA) of 89 cm than the State-run Indian Meteorology Department’s (IMD) expectation of a deficient monsoon at 88 per cent of the LPA mainly due to the El Nino phenomenon. “Sowing is almost at what it was last year, the numbers are matching,” JS Sandhu, Agriculture Commissioner, told BusinessLine.

Crop cover

As of last Friday, Kharif acreage touched 91.61 lakh hectares (lh), down 7.4 per cent from 98.88 lh recorded at the same time last year.

Asked about the discrepancy, Sandhu said, “It’s the beginning of the season and some States have not supplied information. It’s not a worrying factor.”

Sowing of kharif crops such as paddy, soyabean and pulses are likely to rise over the next week with the four-month-long monsoon covering most rain-fed areas which account for 60 per cent of total cropland.

Soya gains ground

Central India, the main cultivable area for soyabean, has received around 19 per cent excess rainfall and sowing is gaining ground. “It’s on full-swing; almost half the area is covered, and has been completed much earlier than expected. Yield potential improves with timely sowing but alternate periods of rain and sunshine over the next three months will be crucial,” said Davish Jain, Chairman, Soyabean Processors Association of India.

Cash crops

An Edelweiss Agri Research report released on Monday expects paddy output to fall irrespective of a normal or deficient rainfall. It forecast output of soyabean sesame and urad dal will rise 2.4 per cent, 6.4 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively, if IMD’s prediction is correct.

Cotton production will match last year’s output of 38.5 million bales (of 170 kg each) and area under sugarcane could rise in the same scenario.

Published on June 23, 2015
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