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India Peanuts: Persistent Dryness Impacting Planting of Rabi Crop

Crop News January 19, 2018

India Peanuts: Persistent Dryness Impacting Planting of Rabi Crop

USDA estimates India peanut production for 2016/17 at 6.3 million metric tons, up 41 percent from last year. Harvested area is estimated at 5.5 million hectares, up 21 percent from last year. The increase is attributed to favorable prices, and farmers switching from cotton to more profitable crops such as peanuts. Because of erratic monsoons and pest issues in the past, some farmers consider peanuts to be less risky than cotton. Yield is estimated at 1.15 tons per hectare, up 17 percent from last year because of favorable weather during the kharif season.

India is one of the world’s largest peanut producers, with estimated 2016/17 output second only to China’s 17.0 million metric tons. Peanuts account for about 25 percent of India’s total oilseed production. There are two peanut growing seasons in India: kharif and rabi. The kharif season accounts for about 85 percent of the total. The kharif crop is typically planted in late June and harvested in late October, and grown primarily in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra. The rabi crop is planted from late October through January and harvested in April. Rabi peanuts are grown in the southern regions of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Telegena.

The 2016/17 kharif crop was harvested in October 2016, with a normal monsoon during the season. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, kharif area was up 28 percent from last year. Higher plantings were reported in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan as farmers switched from cotton to peanuts.

According to India’s Ministry of Agriculture, rabi planting was about 55 percent complete by January 19, ahead of the average pace, but by late January was about 20 percent behind average because of persistent dryness in southeastern India. During the rabi season farmers rely largely on the residual moisture from the Southwest (summer) Monsoon, which occurs from June through September. The Southwest Monsoon was characterized as normal for most of the country. In contrast, the southern region receives 30 percent of its rainfall from the later Northeast Monsoon, which occurs from October through December. Rainfall was favorable in late October, which encouraged farmers to plant, but since November the southern region has received only scattered and minimal rainfall. Precipitation from the Northeast Monsoon was 60 percent below the long-term average, according to the India Metrological Service.

Soil moisture is currently at a deficit level throughout the rabi peanut growing area. According to the Ministry as of January 19, planting was behind the normal pace throughout the major peanut-producing states in southern India: by 42 percent in Andhra Pradesh, 15 percent in Telangana, 16 percent in Karnataka, and 62 percent in Tamil Nadu.

Source: https://ipad.fas.usda.gov/highlights/2017/01/India/images/Figure1.htm

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