Dry spell worrying farmers in Madhya Pradesh

  • Manoj Ahuja, Hindustan Times, Indore
  • Updated: Jul 04, 2015 21:04 IST

A prolonged break in rains has become a cause for concern for farmers in Madhya Pradesh even as 80% sowing of oilseeds and kharif pulses has already been completed.

Most parts of Madhya Pradesh have not received rain for the past 10 days, thereby reducing moisture in the soil. "The oilseeds will be in trouble if it doesn't rain in the next three to four days," scientist Dr PS Bhatnagar said.

"There is (also) a problem of the farmers unable to spray chemicals to check weed growth due to low soil moisture."

The India Meteorological Department's prediction of El Nino effect, a rain-disrupting weather pattern triggered by the warming of the Pacific, continuing throughout monsoon has farmers and soybean experts worried, as distribution pattern rather than quantum of rainfall is crucial for the soy crop.

"There is about 90% probability of El Nino conditions to continue during the southwest monsoon season," IMD had said in its earlier forecast.

Though private forecaster Skymet has played down the El Nino effect, it has also predicted weak rainfall in some states including Madhya Pradesh where more than 70% kharif cultivation area is rain-fed.

Experts say the distribution pattern of monsoon is very crucial for the kharif crop. Monsoon spells during seedling stage in early July, flowering stage in mid-August and pod-filling stage in September are crucial, and any dry spell during this period could have an adverse impact on crop yield.

"At present, there is no problem, but the crops could face water stress if it doesn't rain in the next five to six days," Rajesh Agrawal, office-bearer in Soybean Processors Association of India, said.

Farmers are expected to plant more soybean and pulses this kharif season because prices are ruling high. Good rains in June have boosted sowing this kharif season compared to the same period last year.

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