Southwest monsoon mitigate rainfall deficiency; cotton production to rise by 14% but rice, soybean take hit

  • If we look at the rainfall data available with us from 1 June to 14 August, there was 582 mm of rain in the country against the normal of 578 mm

  • Excess rains in July also caused a flood-like situation in many pockets of the country

  • Rice production is also likely to go down in the upcoming kharif season to 88.66 million tons

After a delayed onset and scanty June, the month of July started well in terms of rainfall across the country. The southwest monsoon was very active in Central, East and Northeast India during the first ten days of the month. And every day there was a drop of about 2-3 percent in the countrywide rainfall deficiency.

If we look at the rainfall data available with us from 1 June to 14 August, there was 582 mm of rain in the country against the normal of 578 mm, which means that the cumulative rainfall in the country stands at a surplus of 1 percent, a sharp contrast to the 33 percent deficiency that was threatening the country till 30 June. This is clearly an outcome of some good rains in July and in the first fortnight of August.

Excess rains in July also caused a flood-like situation in many pockets of the country. The worst-hit states were Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. In Assam, approximately 7,82,051 hectares of agricultural land seemed to be under high soil moisture regime. In Bihar, approximately 12,91,680 hectares of agricultural land was affected, in Uttar Pradesh, 84,161 hectares of agricultural land and in Punjab, 15,438 hectares of agricultural land area was affected.

 Southwest monsoon mitigate rainfall deficiency; cotton production to rise by 14% but rice, soybean take hit

Representational image. Reuters.

In August, another week of active monsoon conditions was observed in the country, during which good rainfall was experienced over most regions like Central, East and North India. Central India was the chief beneficiary during this period, receiving the maximum amount of rainfall. Several places like Vadodara, Surat, Pune, Nashik and Mumbai observed over 100 mm of rain on a few occasions. Heavy rains were also recorded in Katara, Una and Kapurthala in North India.

Heavy rains caused massive flooding in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The situation was particularly serious in parts of Maharashtra like Sangli, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Akola and Mahabaleshwar.

Good rains in late July and early August facilitated the sowing operations of kharif crops across the country and helped to cover the lag that insufficient rains had created in the first half of the monsoon season.

Kharif crops area coverage - Skymet data-30 August 2019

Most of the kharif crops such as soybean, paddy and pulses were sown late even in the key producing states. Sowing of certain crops is still going on in a few states after good rainfall was recorded in the first fortnight of August. Missed sowing window leads to potential losses in yields especially in the case of soybean and pulses whose sowing window already closes by mid-July.

In our analysis, we have arrived at the outcome which indicates that cotton production in the country will increase by 14 percent to 34.21 million bales in 2019-20 from 30.08 million bales previous year due to improved yields.

Soybean production in the upcoming kharif season is likely to fall by around 12.5 percent to 11.99 million tons, compared to 13.69 million tons previous season. Excess rains in few districts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra is expected to impact the yields adversely.

Rice production is also likely to go down in the upcoming kharif season to 88.66 million tons. It might register a fall of 13 percent compared to the 101.96 million tons produced a year ago. The monsoon vagaries are expected to affect the yield primarily in the rainfed areas.

Kharif pulses production is also likely to go down by 0.5 percent to 8.53 million tons compared to 8.59 million tons previous season. Late sowing of pulses and a slight reduction in area is expected to bring down the pulses production in the country.

(The author is the managing director of Skymet Weather)

Courtesy: Skymet Kharif Crop Outlook 2019/20. Vol 2. August 2019

Updated Date: Aug 30, 2019 11:48:12 IST