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Heavy Rainfall in September May Impact Kharif Crop: IMD

Rains are now helping oilseed crops like soyabean and groundnut, pulses, paddy, bajra, maize and cotton, Agricultural experts said. But if the rains are excessive and continue till the end of September, then it will damage crops, sending their prices up.

Ayushi Raina
Farmers on field
Farmers on field

The above-average rainfall in September will affect the Kharif crop if not spread equally as predicted by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). Agriculture experts claimed rain now supports oilseed cultivations such as groundnut, soybean, pulses, bajra, cotton and paddy, but that, if the rain is excessive, it would damage the crops by selling up their prices till the end of September. 

While the kharif season started off well with a timely monsoon and good sowing, patchy rains in July and August delayed the pace of sowing in some regions of the country. On September 2, 108.15 million hectares of kharif crops had been planted, down 0.82 percent from the same date the previous year. 

“Rainfall in June was relatively good, remaining 10% above normal in most parts of the country. The north-eastern region of the country saw a substantial shortfall in July, with levels 7 percent below normal. However, the situation began to deteriorate in August, resulting in significant rainfall shortages in the eastern half of central India as well as parts of western India,” according to D S Pai, IMD's head of Climate Research and Services. 

Hetal Gandhi, Director at Crisil Research said “As per Crisil’s on-ground interactions, paddy and bajra in Haryana will benefit from these rains. In Gujarat, though such rains will be beneficial for few days, if it continues throughout the month, it may negatively impact yields of groundnut, acreage for which is already lower by 8-9% on year in the state.” 

“Similar yield impact on groundnut can be seen in Tamil Nadu following severe rainfall,” Gandhi noted. 

However, while maize and cotton yields in states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana will be unaffected by the rains, but tur yields in Karnataka, which produces 20% of the country's tur, are predicted to be badly impacted if the wet weather persists. However, while maize and cotton harvests in states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana will be unaffected by the rains, tur yields in Karnataka, which produces 20% of the country's tur, are predicted to be badly impacted if the rainy season persists. 

“If the current rainfall continues throughout the month, we expect production reduction in crops such as groundnut and tur, followed by urad, which could lead to a slight increase in pricing for these commodities in the future months,” the Crisil executive stated. 

“Even though monsoon came early, the abrupt gap between June 15 and July 15 curtailed expansion of the pulses crop area, with an overall rainfall deficit of 27.2 percent. The dry spell that has hit Rajasthan and Gujarat might result in a crop deficit of up to 25% in Rajasthan.” said Nirav Desai, managing partner, GGN Research. 

B Krishna Murthy, managing director, Four P International said “The situation depends on how the balance 33 days of monsoon season fare. The biggest threat to the crop will be abnormal rainfall which may pose a threat to standing crops.” 

Soybean farmers in Madhya Pradesh are benefiting from September rains. Soyabean Processors Association of India executive director D.N. Pathak stated. “Rain-induced moisture is now assisting in the development and filling of soyabean pods. However, if it rains too much, the crop will be harmed.” 

Bimal Kothari, vice chairman, India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) said “We may witness some damage to the urad and moong crops if there is excessive rainfall activity during the harvest time. Because Rajasthan experienced a dry spell in August, we may see a significant decline in moong production in the Rajasthan state.”  

The feed industry anticipates maize production in the kharif season to be similar to the previous year. “We estimate that maize output in the kharif season will be between 14 lakh and 15 lakh tonnes,” said Jaison John, Team Lead (India), US Soyabean Export Council. 

The cotton trade is optimistic about increased production. “Although the area sown under cotton has decreased by 7% to 8%, we expect a higher yield than last year because cotton growing areas have gotten adequate rainfall at regular intervals. Due to increased yield predictions, we expect production to climb to 370 lakh bales in 2021-22, up from 358 lakh bales in 2020-21. However, the weather conditions in the next months will play a role,” said BS Rajpal, president of the Maharashtra Cotton Ginners' Association. 

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