Prolonged dry weather has taken a heavy toll on the Nilgiris tea production so far this calendar.

May was another dry month with the rainfall being less in all the agro-climatic zones compared to May 2015 and the decennial (10-year) average for the month.

The cumulative rainfall in the five months was far lower than 2015 and decennial average.

Temperature was higher than last year with meteorological centre at Palaniappa Estate recording the highest temperature of 34.5 degrees Celsius.

Humidity, wind speed, evaporation and soil moisture recorded at various centres showed an adverse ambience for tea cropping.

Consequently, tea companies have reported to Tea Board that their production in May was as much as 55 per cent less than in May 2015.

They have reported that their output in May dropped to 0.68 million kg (mkg) from 1.51 mkg in May 2015 and the five year mean of 1.41 mkg for the month.

This pulled down the cumulative output in the five months by as much as 32.60 per cent over last year.

The production till May dropped to 4.28 mkg from 6.35 mkg in January-May 2015 and the five-year mean of 5.90 mkg for the period.

Usually, May is the rush cropping month but this year it did not happen. Tea producers expect a better crop in July after applying manure in June-July and with some areas receiving rainfall this month. Nevertheless, the overall production is unlikely to be higher than last year.

Producers have informed Tea Board that they anticipate the production to be around 3.50 mkg in the next quarter (July-September) against 3.97 mkg in July-September 2015.

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