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Excess rains hit Kharif crops; Skymet sees 12% dip in rice, soya, pulses output

Joe C Mathew     December 3, 2019

Private weather forecaster and agriculture-risk solutions provider Skymet Weather Services predicts that the just ended spell of monsoon rains will result in an increase in cotton production, but cause a decline in the output of soya, rice and pulses during the forthcoming harvest season.

The 'Kharif Crop Outlook 2019/20' released by Skymet on Monday talks about the year's monsoon spread and its impact on the production of Kharif crops. It also does an analysis of impact of actual rainfall recorded in the monsoon season (between June 1 and October 31) and have anticipated the changes that could possibly occur on the productivity and production side.

According to Skymet, the cotton production in the country will increase by 23 per cent to 35.37 million bales in 2019-20 from 28.70 million bales previous year due to improved yields and increased acreages. It estimates the soybean production in the upcoming Kharif season to be around 12.15 million tons, 12 per cent lower than the last year's production estimates of 13.78 million tons due to excess rains in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra towards the fag end of monsoon rains. Skymet expects the rice production to be around 90.04 million tons, that is, 12 per cent down from the last year's production estimates of 102.13 million tons. In the case of pulses, the production is estimated to be around 82.02 million tons, about 4.5 per cent down from the last year's Kharif production estimates of 8.59 million tons.

The report notes that during this monsoon season, 12 states (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh) have experienced floods, which led to severe losses of life, crops and property. "A total of 137 districts in these 12 states were affected and 45,14,475 hectares of land were inundated, out of which 32,09,266 hectares were agricultural land. There are several kharif crops such as soybean, groundnut, cotton, urad and tur which was adversely impacted and damaged," the report states.

"Apart from the above 137 districts, there are several others, which have experienced high soil moisture for the entire month of September which caused heavy losses to the crop. If soil moisture is persistently above 50 per cent in any region for a long period, it signifies the presence of inundation. In such cases, crop loss is certain. There are a few pockets that remained rain deficient and losses to crops are witnessed here due to low soil moisture (than average). The withdrawal of monsoon finally commenced from West Rajasthan on October 9 against the normal date of September 1, making it the most delayed withdrawal in the last 59 years (since 1961) and was gone in just eight days, making it the quickest in the history," Jatin Singh, MD, Skymet, said.

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