The delay in kharif harvesting may have eaten into rabi sowing in many parts of the country with the total area sown with winter crops remaining at 251 lakh hectares, about 10 per cent lower than the 276.83 lh planted in the corresponding week last year.

According to the latest rabi sowing data released by the Agriculture Ministry on Friday, there is a substantial shortfall in the planting of gram and maize, particularly.

Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are among the major gram-cultivating States that have reported a significant drop in gram acreage. The gram sowing area in Madhya Pradesh has shrunk to 14.07 lh as against 26.54 lh in the same week last year. In Maharashtra, the area under gram cultivation currently is about 1.25 lh as compared to 5.63 lh in the same period. Rajasthan, which has been able to put to good use the heavy rains it received during the monsoon season, on the other hand, has reported almost a 50 per cent increase in pulses sowing. As against 11.34 lh sown till this time last year, the area covered under pulses in Rajasthan is 16.18 lh till this week.



The sowing of lentil too has been affected in many areas with the sown area reported at 8.44 lh, about 17 per cent lower than last year. Overall, pulses sowing is down by 19 per cent to 71.26 lh till this week.

Wheat sowing, on the other hand, is progressing well in most States. While the sown area is up in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, it is marginally lower in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. So far wheat has been sown on 96.77 lh, a little lower than the 99.64 lh in the corresponding week last year.

Coarse cereals planting too has been hit with the reported sown area down by 11 per cent as compared to the corresponding week last year. As against 24 lh planted last year, planting has taken place only on 21.33 lh so far. The major crop affected was maize, whose sown area remained at 3.49 lh as against 5.28 lh in the same week last year.

Among oilseeds, mustard/rapeseed sowing is down by nearly 5 per cent to 50.71 lh as compared to 53.62 lh planted in the same week last year. The total area sown with oilseeds till this week was 54.88 lh as against 58.07 lh last year.

At 6.8 lh, rice planting remained more or less same as last year, even though Tamil Nadu reported a substantial increase in rice sowing. But planting is down in many States, including Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

Water levels

Water levels in major reservoirs continue to be much higher than that during the corresponding week. According to the Central Water Commission, the 120 major reservoirs that it monitors have a cumulative water storage of 149.48 billion cubic metres (BCM), which is 42.83 BCM more than the same week last year. As many as 117 reservoirs have more than 80 per cent of their live storage capacity.