Agri Business

Weather may impact soyabean, cotton, sugarcane and paddy crops

Our Bureaus Chennai | Updated on August 24, 2021

Besides the monsoon’s ‘break’ phases, rain and floods have also affected crops in some States

While deficient rainfall this year is feared to impact kharif crop acreage and production, the country’s agriculture production has also faced problems of sudden downpour and flash floods in some parts.

Such damage has particularly been reported from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra, Bihar and Karnataka.

“Erratic monsoon had earlier delayed sowing in key kharif crop-growing states. Excessive rains now pose further threat to kharif output. We estimate a drop of upto 3-5 per cent in soyabean. Other crops like paddy and pulses may be less impacted,” said Prasanna Rao, Co-founder and CEO, Arya Collateral Warehousing Services Ltd.

Kharif sowing at 1,044 lakh hectares

According to Deepak Yadav, founder of agritech startup GreenSat, water stagnation in a few areas and insufficient rains have hit the transplantation of paddy crops. “The yield loss for paddy crop from Bihar is estimated to be about 50 per cent, while about seven lakh hectares of kharif crops have been damaged in Maharashtra, where over 90 per cent of sowing had been completed,” he said.

Sensitive crops

High-value and sensitive crops such as soyabean, cotton, sugarcane, and paddy have been affected, he said. In Madhya Pradesh, soyabean crop could be 20 per cent in some areas.

Yadav said flooding and stagnant water could badly affect yield in some states this year. “We have to foresee the possibility for second sowing to recover the crop loss, but it seems highly doubtful now,” he said.

Cottonseed firms face double whammy this kharif season

However, BK Singh, founder of BKC WeatherSys, said cotton and, to some extent, soyabean production could be affected due to erratic monsoon, though flash floods may not cause much loss. He said other crops may not be affected much.

Flood impact on MP

In Madhya Pradesh, nine districts have been directly affected by floods. Gwalior and Chambal divisions have been the worst affected. According to preliminary estimates, crops in 1,01,669 hectares have been damaged, official sources said.

Anand Singh Anjana, a farmer from Ujjain district, said soyabean farmers could not spray pesticide when his region experienced continuous rainfall for 10 days. “In addition, we are now facing trouble from a yellow fungus. In the Malwa region, farmers who grew rice will get nothing as lack of rains for a long period has affected the crop,” he said.

Official sources said farmers in Sehore district fed their standing soyabean crop to cattle or destroyed them. The crop turned worthless as the plants could either not bear fruits or were destroyed by insects on thousands of acres in the district, a few kilometers from Bhopal.

Local farmers say that the crop was sown on time this year but the rains stopped after an initial spell, which led to the damage. Heavy rains lashed the region subsequently, causing more damage.


Adverse rains in Haryana

Soyabean seems to have suffered in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Haryana.

“Some crops such as soybean and urad have been affected by adverse rains in Haryana,” said State Commissioner of Agriculture and Horticulture Department Om Prakash. As much as 2,16,152 hectares of soyabean and 1,13,895 hectares of urad have been affected in the State.

Although heavy rains and waterlogging impacted some pockets, the damage was limited, farmers said. For instance, some 2,500 hectares under maize were affected in Karnal and Kurukshetra districts, forcing farmers to return to cultivating rice in some areas. Similarly, waterlogging hit cotton crop in a few places in Bhiwani district.

In Rajasthan, much of the crop damage has been reported from Kota, Bhundi, Jhalawar, and Baran Sawai Madhopur districts.

Deficit rain hits oilseed crop

BV Mehta, Executive Director, Solvent Extractors’ Association of India, told BusinessLine that most oilseed growing states were suffering from rain deficit.

Major oilseed growing states such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra need one more round of rainfall, he said. There was deficient rainfall in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region, where groundnut is grown, and Maharashtra’s Marathwada region.

Another round of rainfall is needed within a week to save the standing crop in most oilseed growing areas, Mehta said.

Mixed trouble in Maharashtra

In Maharashtra, preliminary reports said crops in about 4,68,181 hectares across 23 districts had been affected due to heavy rains and floods. Paddy, soyabean, jowar, maize, sugarcane, cotton, turmeric, tur, moong and urad crops were severely affected, besides vegetables.

The maximum damage was reported from Sangli and Kolhapur districts. In the Konkan region, paddy cultivation was affected and, at many places, sowing had to be carried out again.

Vegetables and sugarcane in Sangli district and soyabean in Vidarbha were mostly affected. According to Maharashtra officials, estimates of the damage are based on preliminary reports as assessment is still on in many parts.

On the other hand, Nashik, Pune, Amravati and Aurangabad experienced deficient rainfall, resulting in crops drying, the State government mentioned in a note.

Karnataka also hit

In Karnataka, standing crops on 2.16 lakh hectares, or 3.31 per cent of the planted area, were impacted by flooding and excess rains, mainly in the northern districts of Belagavi, Bagalkot, Dharwad and Kalaburagi.

Due to the flooding, sugarcane on 81,077 hectares has been affected and 31,197 hectares of maize have been impacted. Paddy in 16,716 hectares has been hit.

The reports come even as farmers in Karnataka have increased the area under maize, soyabean, cotton and pulses such as tur and green gram. Green gram sown on 38,316 hectares is feared to be affected, while 18,836 hectares of soyabean have been affected.

Tur or arhar has been impacted by flooding in about 7,605 hectares and a similar acreage of cotton has also been hit.

Karnataka officials said the losses were being assessed and, based on the current figures, there is unlikely to be any major impact on the overall output.

In Bengal, it’s advantage jute

Heavy rains have had a mixed impact on West Bengal’s kharif crops. While sowing of raw jute has been “exceptionally high” this year, aided by good rainfall, harvesting of jute has also benefited since the rains aided the process of retting.

“Weather has been extremely favourable for the jute crop this year, right from the time of sowing, with good amount of sunshine and rainfall, and now, at the time of harvesting, when it is aiding the process of retting,” said Raghav Gupta, Chairman, Indian Jute Mills’ Association (IJMA).

In the case of paddy, the impact of rains has been different across different rice-growing pockets.

According to Pradip Kumar Mazumder, Chief Advisor (Agriculture) to the Chief Minister, while some critically dry areas of the State have benefitted from the heavy rains this year, some areas have been inundated.

Three to four pockets have seen losses, but in two districts additional areas have been brought under paddy due to good rainfall. The State is yet to assess the exact impact of the rainfall.

(With inputs from TV Jayan, New Delhi; Vishwanath Kulkarni, Bengaluru; AJ Vinayak, Mangaluru; Radheshyam Jadhav, Pune; Shobha Roy, Kolkata; and Subramani Ra Mancombu, Chennai)

Published on August 24, 2021

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