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    Monsoon watch: After June and July showers, a dry August

  • Date : 17 August, 2017

     Monsoon watch: After June and July showers, a dry August


    The current month is turning out to be the driest August in eight years. The country as a whole has received 25.6 per cent less area-weighted rainfall during August 1-16 than the historical long-period average (normal) for this period. The last time August recorded comparable levels of rain deficiency was in 2009.The consolation this time, though, is the surplus showers during June and July. It has resulted in the cumulative rainfall for the four-month southwest monsoon season (June-September) being only 4.3 per cent below normal till August 16.

    June and July coincides with peak kharif sowing activity. The Agriculture Ministry’s data shows overall plantings this season to have been 0.7 per cent higher than last year, which, of course, saw bumper production. Acreages have gone up in most crops, barring arhar (pigeon-pea), moong (green gram), maize, jowar (sorghum) and major oilseeds (groundnut, soyabean, sesamum and sunflower).

    While rains in June and July are important for farmers to take up sowing, there are no less required in August when the crop is in the vegetative growth stage. Moisture stress during this period can have a bearing on yields. The extended dry phase now being witnessed can be cause for worry. The next one week or so would be crucial. The Met Department has forecast a cyclonic formation developing over the northwest Bay of Bengal, which should hopefully lead to a revival of rainfall activity over central India.

    In June-July, the main source of concern was the Deep South belt covering southern and coastal Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. These tracts had faced drought or near-drought conditions last year and seemed set for a repeat, a la Maharashtra in 2014 and 2015.
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    But the dry patch since then has extended also to northern Karnataka, Marathwada, Vidarbha, Madhya Pradesh and parts of Telangana. The crops that can take a hit include maize, soyabean, arhar, urad, jowar and even milk (Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are major producers).The fact that this has happened even as Gujarat and Rajasthan have suffered excess rains — leading to flooding of fields where farmers had already planted cotton, groundnut or bajra (pearl-millet) – makes for a confused picture.
    As things stand, it doesn’t look this year’s kharif crop would be as bumper as it was last time. Nor has the monsoon been as good and well-distributed — at least so far.
     
    Source - Indian Express
 















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EDITOR'S NOTE

19 Jan 2016

Crop insurance scheme brings cheers

In view of the growing volatility in the agriculture sector caused by vagaries of nature as well as market fluctuations, it is heartening to see the new Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)