Agri Business

Widespread showers to benefit oil palm in Malaysia, Indonesia

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on October 18, 2019 Published on October 18, 2019

File photo   -  REUTERS

Widespread showers (2.5 cm-10 cm) in Malaysia and Indonesia last week benefited oil palm, and encouraged the start of wet-season rice sowing, particularly in Java, Indonesia.

Elsewhere in South-East Asia, showers began to shift to southern sections of the region, ushering in drier weather in the North, a weekly update by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), said.

Rains in South-East Asia

In Thailand, much of the North and North-East were dry, with rainfall (over 2.5 cm) limited to the central and southern areas, the report said.

More rain would be welcome in the North and North-East regions for later-sown rice and to improve irrigation supplies, following inconsistent rainfall for much of the wet season.

In Vietnam, showers (over 2.5 cm) across the North supported reproductive summer-sown (10th month) rice, while wet weather (2.5-10 cm) across much of the Philippines improved moisture supplies ahead of second-crop sowing.

In East Asia, showers boosted soil moisture in advance of the wheat and rapeseed sowing in East China, while rains have to shift southward in South-East Asia, bringing drier weather to North Thailand and North Philippines.

Indian monsoon

In the larger South Asia region, the monsoon showers continued to withdraw from India, bringing drier conditions to the North and West of the country. The withdrawal of the South-West monsoon, which delivered a surplus of 10 per cent, ushered in much drier weather that supported maturation and harvesting of kharif crops planted earlier in the season.

Significant rainfall (over 2.5 cm) still lingered along the East and South, benefiting late-planted rice and cotton, rain can continue in parts of the SouthEast well into November, after the switch-over to North-East monsoon.

Dry weather in Pakistan promoted cotton and rice harvesting, while heavy showers (over 5 cm) continued in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, maintaining good moisture supplies for the upcoming winter rice season.

Situation in Australia

Meanwhile, dry weather has hampered development of immature winter grains and oilseeds in the northern and western portions of the Western Australia wheat belt, the USDA update said.

The Australian Met Bureau has already went public with the forecast that the monsoon in the country would be delayed since the preceding Indian monsoon delayed its withdrawal by more than a month.

In contrast, widespread showers (5-18 mm) further benefited wheat, barley, and canola in southern and eastern growing areas in the just concluded week.

To farther east of the country, mostly dry weather reduced moisture supplies for reproductive to filling winter grains and oilseeds in South Australia and northern Victoria.

The weather has trended drier in these states recently, and although crop conditions have remained generally good during this period, more rain will be needed in the upcoming weeks to help maintain yield prospects.

Elsewhere, scattered showers (5 mm-2 cm) were reported locally, but more spread out over the eastern parts of the wheat belt in New South Wales and Queensland, the USDA said.

The rain helped moisten the topsoil in some areas, aiding local summer crop sowing, germination, and emergence. Much more abundant and widespread rain is needed, however, to end the long-term drought gripping much of eastern Australia.

Although the rain was welcome, it came much too late in the growing season to significantly benefit drought-stressed wheat and other winter crops.

Temperatures averaged near to below normal in South Australia and Victoria (up to 2 deg C below normal) and above normal in southern Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia (1-3 deg C above normal).

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Published on October 18, 2019
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