Dr. R. H. Patil, Department of Agricultural Meteorology, UAS, Dharwad
While the monsoon reaching Kerala late by three days than the normal date of May 31 raised some concerns among the farmers of Karnataka, monsoon activities soon picked up and today the June 4 saw more than half of Karnataka covered by monsoon front rains.
On June 2 and 3 coastal region and many parts of the north interior Karnataka (NIK) region like most parts of Uttara Karnataka, Belagavi, Dharwad and Haveri districts have received widespread light to moderate rains.
Coastal regions, including Uttara Kannada, dist received heavy rains on June 3 night with as much as 176 mm recorded at Castlerock hobli of Supa taluk. Similarly, many parts of Koppal, Gadag, Vijayapur and Haveri districts also received light rains and during the next two days, the entire state of Karnataka is going to be covered by the monsoon and likely to receive rains.
However, after June 6 the state may likely see a drop in rain activities for some time. This may well hopefully turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the farmers of the NIK region to take up sowing of Kharif crops.
This summer, between March 1 and May 30, most parts of the NIK region received good rains. For instance, Uttara Kannada, Vijayapura, Belagavi, Dharwad and Gadag district received excess rainfall between 75 to 316 % over normal rains. Similarly, four districts namely Haveri, Ballari, Koppal and Gulbarga received above-normal rains between 35 to 40% more than normal, and Bagalkot, Raichur and Yadgir districts received normal rains. Only the Bidar district in the NIK region received deficit rains of -20%.
Therefore, in at least 9 out of 13 districts viz., Uttara Kannada, Vijayapura, Belagavi, Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri, Ballari, Koppal and Gulbarga sowing activities must pick up with the current rains received on June 2 and June 3 and what is expected during the next two days i.e., June 4 and 5. It is also expected that monsoon rains my slow down a bit for a few days after June 6 across the state, which should help farmers take up sowing operations.
However, farmers must decide to sow only if the sowing conditions are favourable, that means, be it red or black soils, the top 5 to 6 inches of soil is wet. If farmers have some source of water for irrigation, then farmers are encouraged to take up sowing of Kharif crops immediately after wetting the profile if no sufficient rains were received so far or provide one light irrigation after sowing.