Good pre-monsoon showers and lower temperatures this month across the country will help retain soil moisture, helping kharif sowing which is expected to commence soon.
According to rainfall data put out by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), India received 40 millimetres (mm) of rain across the country last week, taking the quantum of pre-monsoon rainfall received in the country to 113.2 mm. This is six per cent more than the normal 107.1 mm. Till last week, the total rainfall received was 73.3 mm, which was 19 per cent lower than the normal for the week
“Pre-monsoon rains are always useful. Pre-monsoon showers, at times, affect rabi crops. Fortunately, this time all wheat and pulses crops have been harvested. Right now, what we have is only a few pockets of standing summer crops,” said SK Malhotra, Agriculture Commissioner of India.
Malhotra, however, said it is difficult to say whether farmers will start planting soon just because of these rains.
But he is confident that the kharif crop this time would be good because of good rains expected.
Monsoon rains are expected to be good and well distributed across all four months going by the forecast put out by the India Meteorological Department, said Malhotra.
GP Sharma, Vice-President – Meteorology, at India’s private weather forecaster Skymet, said the rains received in recent days helped improve soil moisture across the country. Parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan are places that get scanty rainfall normally.
“Gujarat is generally a dry pocket throughout the pre-monsoon season. Not even a dust storm. But it received two days of continuous rains thanks to the severe cyclonic storm Tauktae. Most parts of Rajasthan, barring extreme west Rajasthan, too, received copious rains because of the cyclone,” Sharma said.
Simialrly, all 19 days of May, the average temperature remained at least 1.5 degree Celsius lower, which will have a positive impact on soil moisture, he said.
Area up in all crops
Meanwhile, farmers planted summer crops over an area of 80.46 lakh hectares (lha) till Friday, an increase of 21.1 per cent over last year’s 66.44 lha.
Increase in acreage was seen in all crops, particularly in pulses, whose area went up by nearly 67 per cent to 17.82 lha compared to the corresponding period last year.
The area under paddy, on the other hand, was up by more than 15 per cent to 39.61 lha while that of oilseeds was 10.87 lha, which is an increase of 11 per cent. At 12.15 lha, the area under coarse cereals, too, registered a slight increase when compared with 11.67 lha same week last year.