Farmers in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions are worried about lower yield this time, as the areas have not received rain during the crucial pod formation period. Soybean, tur and cotton are some of the crops that the farmers fear will be hit if it does not rain in the next few days.
Till the second week of September, Maharashtra received 887.5 mm of rainfall — a five percent deficit from the normal in the state. Ten districts, including major soybean producing areas like Latur, Beed, Aurangabad and Jalna have reported 25-30 per cent less rainfall this time. Currently, Solapur with 34 per cent deficit is the most moisture-stressed district in the state.
Pune is the only district in the state that has recorded a 24 per cent more (than normal) rainfall.
The rainfall situation is worrisome in almost all districts of Marathwada and Vidarbha. Barring Nagpur, Washim and Nanded districts that have reported slight excess than normal rainfall this time, all other districts have witnessed negative departure in rainfall pattern.
The situation is especially grim in Buldhana (-27 per cent) Latur (-26 per cent) and Aurangabad (-26 per cent) where farmers are staring at potential crop loss due to low moisture content in the soil. Even districts in north Maharashtra, like Nashik, Ahmednagar and Nandurbar have reported lesser rainfall than normal.
Farmers are staring at either crop loss or lesser yields due to moisture stress. Worst-hit will be soybean, tur and cotton that are in the crucial post-flowering pod formation stage now.
Moisture stress during this time can affect the production.
Ironically, the state has reported crop loss in over 1.40 lakh hectare of land due to heavy shower that Maharashtra saw in July-August this year. The moisture stress comes at a time when Maharashtra has recorded bumper crop, especially in soybean.
As against the 38.23 lakh hectare of farm land under the cultivation of the oil seed reported last year, this year, the state has reported 39.83 lakh hectare of land under soybean.
Prices of the beans have also firmed up in view of the US-China trade tariff, with the processing industry looking at record exports this year.