Kharif sowing has started on a sluggish note despite monsoon delivering a 10 per cent surplus in June, the first of the four-month rainy season. Total acreage was down by 21 per cent as of June 25, compared with the same period a year ago as monsoon turned erratic in parts of Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, hurting the progress of sowing.
While transplantation of paddy, the main kharif crop, has started on a positive note, the planting of pulses, cotton and oilseeds has been rather tepid, according to early set of figures released by the Agriculture Ministry.
Paddy cultivation was higher by about 4 per cent at 36.15 lakh hectare (lh) over same period past year. States such as Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and West Bengal have reported higher acreage under paddy, while Odisha, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Maharasthra have reported lower coverage.
Lower tur acreage
Area under pulses was 17 per cent lower compared with the year-ago period at 14.58 lh (17.51) . Acreage under tur or arhar was down by 37 per cent at 5.57 lh compared twith 8.83 lh. Urad or black matpe coverage was marginally down at 2.17 lh while moongbean area is slightly higher at 5.23 lh. States such as Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have reported higher area, while Maharashtra and Telangana have registered a decline. Pulses acreage in Maharashtra was down by 4.08 lh.
Area under coarse cereals dropped due to lower coverage of crops such as jowar, bajra and small millets. However, maize area is higher due to higher coverage in Karnataka.
Overall, the area under coarse cereals is higher in States such as Madhya Pradesh (4.32 lh) and Karnataka (1.43 lh). Lower coverage has been reported in Maharasthra (11.41 lh), Haryana (1.38 lh) and Rajasthan (0.79 lh).
Oilseeds coverage is also lower mainly due to lower acreage reported from Maharashtra (11.36 lh) and Gujarat (4.08 lh). Groundnut cultivation is down by a fourth at 9 lh (12.14 lh), while soyabean area is 42 per cent lower at 13.45 lh (23.36 lh). Rajasthan (1.46 lh), Madhya Pradesh (1.37 lh) and Karnataka (0.51 lh) have reported higher coverage.
Cotton area down by 48%
Cotton cultivation is down by 48 per cent at 37.14 lh (71.69 lh) as almost all major producing States have seen a sluggish planting. Cotton plating is down in Maharashtra (15.11 lh), Gujarat (8.15 lh), Madhya Pradesh (3.70 lh), Telangana (3.40 lh), Punjab (1.98 lh), Karnataka (0.83 lh), Haryana (0.63 lh), Rajasthan (0.60 lh) and Andhra Pradesh (0.32 lh).
Sugarcane acrea is higher at about 50.16 lh (49.85 lh) as Gujarat (0.80 lh), Maharashtra (0.17 lh) and Uttar Pradesh (0.12 lh) have reported an increase in area.
Though the south-west monsoon has weakened, it is expected to see renewed vigour by next week. The India Meteorological Department forecasts normal rainfall this month.
Water storage level
The Central Water Commission on Thursday said that the storage level in the 130 major reservoirs in the country is 55.606 billion cubic metres that is 32 per cent of live storage capacity at full reservoir level. This is one per cent lower than the level last year and 38 per cent higher than the average level seen in the last 10 years.