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Prediction of Upcoming Monsoon & Its Impact on Kharif Crops in Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha, Haryana, Other States

India’s leading weather & agriculture risk monitoring company, Skymet Weather Services has released a Kharif Report. In the report, it has shared the prediction for the upcoming Monsoon and its impact on the production of Kharif crops.

Tooba Maher

India’s leading weather & agriculture risk monitoring company, Skymet Weather Services has released a Kharif Report. In the report, it has shared the prediction for the upcoming Monsoon and its impact on the production of Kharif crops. As per the report, Skymet expects the upcoming Monsoon to be “below normal” to the tune of 93% (with an error margin of +/-5%) of the long period average (LPA) of 887 mm for the four-month period from June to September.

It has mentioned, that the Pacific Ocean has become strongly warmer than average. The model projections call for 80% chance of El Niño during March-May, dropping to 60% for June to August. It means that it is going to be a devolving El Niño year, though retaining threshold value all through the season. Hence, Monsoon 2019 is likely to be below normal. The onset month of June is going to be sluggish, and deficit rains are likely to spill into July. Second half of the season would see better rainfall wherein August is expected to be a shade better than September, and both the months would manage to see normal rains.

It is to be noted that, El Niño also impacts distribution of rainfall. El Niño conditions mostly coincide with a period of weak Monsoon and rising temperatures and thus, the probability of drought occurrence surges during El Niño events disturbing crop production and water supply. Skymet expects that East India along with major portion of Central India would be at a higher risk of being rain deficient, especially during the first half of the season. While deficient rains are expected over Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal along with Central parts of the country predominantly Vidarbha, Marathwada, southern parts of Madhya Pradesh and some parts of Gujarat.

Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Coastal Andhra Pradesh are most likely to see normal rains throughout the season.

With below normal Monsoons, the possibility of deficient and largely deficient rains is more than 40% in 66% districts of the country. The report shows an in-depth analysis of the impact of predicted Monsoon on the major Kharif crops and the anticipated changes that could possibly occur on the production side. About half of the country’s food grain production comes from the Kharif output which stands around 140 million tons.

Total food grain yield in Kharif season is directly affected by variations in the summer Monsoon (June to September) precipitation. Increase or decrease in Monsoon rains is generally correlated with an increase or decrease in food grain yields and production. Prolonged breaks in Monsoon also adversely affect the crop growth and result in reduced crop yields. El Niño’s impact on crop conditions and development depends on the sensitivity of the phenological phase of crops during the peak period of the event. The flowering and grain filling phases of cereal crops are more sensitive to water stress.

In the months between January 2019 and April 2019, India has received 10% lower than normal rainfall for the period. Winter rains (January & February) was 24% higher than the normal while pre-Monsoon showers (March & April) were 30% lower than the normal rainfall for the period. With 50% of India’s population dependent on agriculture and more than 50% of the cultivable area being rain-fed, the farm economy could be in a precarious situation with the ongoing rain deficiency. 

Impact of Monsoon on Cotton Production:

Cotton production in the country is expected to increase by 10% to 33.19 million bales in 2019-20 from 30.08 million bales in the previous year. Cotton acreage on the national front is likely to be higher by 2.7% to 12.57 million hectares. Significant increase in cotton prices during the last season, better realization over competitive crops coupled with Monsoon vagaries are likely to help cotton acreage to rise in all major cotton producing states.

Around 64% area under Cotton is rain-fed. Maharashtra has the largest acreage under cotton followed by Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. The reservoir status in these states' are already reeling under alarming pressure. Hence, the crop remains fully dependent on rains. However, average Monsoon rainfall is decreasing in few of the major cotton producing states including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and Karnataka. Since Punjab and Haryana have good irrigation facility no adverse impact is expected on account of lower rainfall.

As per the analysis, 2019 being the second consecutive below normal Monsoon year, yields will be adversely impacted in few states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. These states are already under severe moisture stress. Therefore, water scarcity at critical growth stages may damage the yield. In case of Cotton, rains in September have the biggest impact on the yield. According to the Skymet’s estimates and the Monsoon forecast, expected national average yield will be 449 kilo grams per hectare for Kharif 2019.

Impact on Soyabean & Pulses:

Soybean and Pulses in Maharashtra, Groundnut in Gujarat, Maize and Turmeric in Telangana, Paddy and Groundnut in Andhra Pradesh are the competitive crops for cotton. Given the prices of cotton from last season and erratic and delayed rainfall in Maharashtra and Telangana, it is expected that some of these areas may shift towards cotton production this season. Prices are expected to trade with firm undertone upto September 2019. Firm prices at the time of sowing are also expected to support higher area coverage under cotton. 

Soybean production is expected to increase by around 8% to 12.57 million tons, compared to 13.69 million tons in the previous season.  It is expected that Soybean acreage across the country is expected to go up by 3.2% as compared to the previous year as all major growing states would witness higher sowing. As per the forecast, if rains get delayed then farmers will not opt for pulses and may shift to soybean owing to higher prices and lesser Monsoon rainfall. However, rainfall distribution and significant increase in cotton prices are likely to limit the gain in acreage.

Across the country, 99% area under soybean is rain-fed and heavily dependent on the rainfall to perform well. Similar to cotton producing states, major soybean producing states may witness water stress in the middle of the crop season with below normal water storage in reservoirs. In case of Soybean, rains in September have the biggest impact on the yields. As per estimates and Monsoon forecasts, national average yield of Soybean is expected to be around 1112 kilograms per hectare, about 8% lower than the previous year’s production estimate.  Although the yield is decreasing, the marginal rise in the production of soybean is expected due to the higher acreage.

In 2019, the prices have started re-bounding and have already touched INR 3931 per quintal in spot market and the upward trend is expected to continue.

However, the paddy production is likely to go down by about 4% in the upcoming Kharif season, to 97.78 as compared to the 101.96 million tons produced a year ago. In case of Paddy, rains in July has the biggest impact on the yields. As per our estimates and looking at forecast Monsoon conditions, national average yield of Paddy is expected to be around 2545 kilograms per hectare.

The area under paddy would remain the same, however, the Monsoon vagaries is expected to effect the yield, primarily in the rain-fed areas. India’s rice yields are rising due to improved varieties, better farming practices and expansion in irrigation facilities.

The growth in exports and higher realization to farmers in the last fiscal year could translate into more area under Basmati in the 2019-20. There is an expected increase in area under cultivation within the Basmati belts of Punjab and Haryana. In the current year the prices for paddy have reached INR 3850 per quintal on robust export demand of Basmati rice. 

As per the Agricultural and Processed Foods Exports Development Authority (APEDA) data, the basmati exports in 2018-19 registered a growth of 8.8% at 44.15 lakh tons as compared to 40.57 lakh tons in 2017-18.  Whereas, the export of non-basmati rice registered a negative growth of 14.5%

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