The late arrival of monsoon has delayed the sowing of major kharif crops across the country. While the sowing of cotton has been delayed by two weeks, there has been almost no sowing of soyabean. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said monsoon will arrive in Maharashtra on June 21.
The monsoon has already arrived in parts of south India, like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, but the rest of the country, except parts of east India, is yet to receive rainfall. The IMD’s agrimet department has not issued any sowing advisory, though it has asked farmers to prepare the land for sowing.
In Maharashtra, barring paddy nurseries in parts of Kolhapur, there has not been any significant sowing of crops. The sowing window for kharif crops like moong and urad is closing fast with farmers likely to divert land for other crops like cotton, tur and soyabean.
Atul S Ganatra, president of the Cotton Association of India (CAI), said the delayed sowing of cotton by two weeks will affect seed prices. “Kapas (seed cotton) prices will rise after a month,” he said. But farmers are more concerned about the possible effect of the delayed sowing on production. While the sowing window of cotton is till July 15, delayed sowing can cause a 20-30 per cent dip in final production, farmers said. Last year, cotton was sown in more than 126 lakh hectares across India, which resulted in production of 337 lakh bales each weighing 170 kg.
Delayed monsoon has also resulted in almost no sowing of soyabean, although the area under the oilseed is expected to increase in Maharashtra by 10 per cent. Last year, Maharashtra reported 36.39 lakh hectares of soyabean sowing, while the number was 108 lakh hectares across India.
Naresh Goenka, vice-chairman of the Soyabean Processors Association of India (SOPA), said the three important states — Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh — have not reported any sowing. “But soyabean is a sturdy crop and late sowing will not have any effect on yield or state of the crop,” he said. Farmers of moong and urad, said Goenka, will prefer growing soyabean due to the delayed rains.
Soyabean is expected to trade above its government-declared Minimum Support Price of Rs 3,399 per quintal this season. “Prices at wholesale markets will be at least Rs 3,400-3,500 per quintal in the next season also,” said Goenka.
The higher prices, he added, will be mostly because of increased demand from the domestic poultry industry, which has turned towards deoiled cake (DOC) of the oilseed for feed. Millers generally extract 18-12 kg of oil from every 100 kg of bean (1 quintal). The remaining protein rich solid mass and other materials serve as protein source for the animal feed industry. “The poultry industry has reverted back to DOC of soya as its protein source given the steep rise in price of other alternatives like DOC of rice bran, cotton seed. We expect the momentum to stay,” he said.