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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Sowing takes a hit as monsoon arrives a week late in Kerala

This delay is yet to be factored in by farmers in the southern states. In some parts of Telangana, for instance, farmers have already started ploughing.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2019 23:23 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, NEW DELHI/HYDERABAD/CHENNAI
The Agromet service has advised land preparation for early kharif rice nurseries in southern Andhra Pradesh and for timely sowing of crops in southern Telengana
The Agromet service has advised land preparation for early kharif rice nurseries in southern Andhra Pradesh and for timely sowing of crops in southern Telengana(HT Photo)
         

Although monsoon arrived in Kerala on Saturday, senior India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials are expecting normal rains to revive in peninsular India only after June 20.

This is because a low-pressure system is developing over southeast Arabian Sea, which is very likely to move northwest towards the Oman coast. If it does move northwest, it will carry away all the moisture, leaving several parts of peninsular India dry for the next four to five days.

“If the low-pressure system moves northwestwards, then monsoon will weaken. In that case, delay in sowing is advisable. If there is no rain after sowing, then the seeds will go bad. Dry crops like sorghum can be sown if there is forecast for rain in the next couple of days after sowing,” said KK Singh, senior agromet scientist at IMD.

This delay is yet to be factored in by farmers in the southern states. In some parts of Telangana, for instance, farmers have already started ploughing. However, sowing begins only in the third week of June in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, after monsoon arrives around June 10. But this year, there may be further delay.

An official in the Commissionerate of Agriculture, Telangana, said though the kharif season starts on June 1, farmers will not be able to start sowing unless there is sufficient moisture in the soil.

“IMD authorities indicated that monsoon is getting delayed and is likely to be weak. The state has received some pre-monsoon showers but farmers have been advised not to go in for sowing hurriedly. Unless there is consistent rainfall for at least two to three weeks, sowing of seeds cannot be done,” the official said, asking not to be named.

He said the Telangana Seeds Development Corporation had been instructed to keep 7.5 lakh quintals of seeds ready -- 2.8 lakh quintals of paddy seeds, 2.5 lakh quintals of soya seeds, 0.35 lakh quintals of pulses, 0.13 lakh quintals of oilseeds and 0.80 lakh quintals of maize.

In Andhra Pradesh, where sowing depends mostly on canal-fed irrigation, sowing will start in the last week of June, according to agriculture department officials. They, however, do not have a plan for delayed monsoon this kharif season.

In Tamil Nadu, Kuruvai paddy cultivation starts in the first week of June. The delay in monsoon and non-availability of Cauvery water have forced several farmers to put off sowing.

“We used to do Kuruvai cultivation (crops grown in Cauvery delta from June to September) on four lakh acres. Now, it has fallen to two lakh acres because of monsoon failure in past years and lack of Cauvery water,” said Somu Ilango, a senior office bearer of the Tamil Nadu Farmers Association.

The IMD’s June 7 National Agromet Advisory Service Bulletin has advised Kerala farmers to start land preparation for transplanting of Virippu rice, start direct sowing of rice crop and planting of new seedlings of coconut and banana after current spells of heavy rain.

The Agromet service has advised land preparation for early kharif rice nurseries in southern Andhra Pradesh and for timely sowing of crops in southern Telengana.

In the Cauvery delta zone, the bulletin has advised: “In south interior Karnataka, continue land preparation for kharif sowing of pulses... rice, ragi, sunflower, maize, minor millets, sugarcane and vegetable crops.”

First Published: Jun 08, 2019 23:23 IST