The current spell of rains is not good for early sown varieties of the kharif paddy crop, the harvesting of which is underway in many parts of the country, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) Director A K Singh said on Monday.
But these rains bode well for late sown and longer duration (155-156 days) paddy varieties, which are in the flowering stage in parts of Uttar Pradrash, Bihar and eastern states as well as in Andhra Pradesh, he added.
The Met Department has projected "above normal rainfall" in October over most parts of India. Many regions of paddy growing states like Haryana, Punjab, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have received heavy spells of rain in the last two days.
Currently, paddy harvesting, the main kharif (summer) crop, is underway. Over 80 per cent of the country's rice production is grown in the kharif season.
"The fact is rains are not good at this critical time. Early varieties of paddy that mature in 125 days are caught in the current rains. These varieties are now matured and some of it is already harvested," Singh told PTI.
Currently, many of the late-sown paddy varieties are in the grain-filling stage. He said that rains followed by wind might result in loss at this stage.
For instance, in Punjab, the area under early sown varieties is about 10-15 per cent. Early varieties such as PR126 and basmati rice varieties 1509 and 1692, are harvested in the state. He said some crop is already harvested and lying in the fields or mandis.
However, he added that it is difficult to ascertain the loss without a wider study at this point of time.
According to the IARI director, these rains augur well for eastern India, especially parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, where late-sown varieties of paddy are cultivated in about 3-4 million hectares area.
The late sown paddy varieties in eastern India will mature post-November 15.
In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, he said that longer-duration paddy varieties like 'Swarna' of 155-156 days are grown, and the recent rains will boost the crop prospects.
Heavy rains have been reported in Andhra Pradesh for the last ten days, but the paddy crop is not affected as long-duration varieties are sown, and the crop is in flowering stage, he added.
Singh also said the current rains are good for certain rabi (winter) crops, especially wheat and mustard.
"Most farmers who do not have irrigation are not able to take up mustard crop. This rain augurs good for mustard area as it will give required moisture for sowing," he said, adding that if rains are well distributed in central India, it will help wheat sowing also.
Last month too, there was heavy rainfall for three days when the early varieties of paddy had matured and some had also arrived in mandis. In some fields, the crop was damaged and the harvesting crop was stuck in mandis due to waterlogging.
Some key growing states did not receive good rains during the crucial sowing period, due to which the country's total rice production has been pegged lower by 6 per cent at 104.99 million tonnes in the kharif season of this year, as per the agriculture ministry's first advance estimate.
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