By Dr Ravi Patil
Head, Department of Agricultural Meteorology, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad
Although the monsoon touched Kerala on June 3, three days later than the normal date of June 1, it advanced fast and covered the entire state of Karnataka by June 6. Now it has entered Maharashtra and parts of Andra Pradesh.
During the first week of June, the Northern Interior Karnataka (NIK) received good rains in most parts except Bidar district. Six districts namely Uttara Kannada (+261%), Vijayapura (+260%), Gadag (+108%), Belagavi (+70%), Gulbarga (+62%) and Dharwad (+60%) received excess rains. Haveri (+26%), Koppal (+28%) and Ballari (+28%) districts received above-normal rains. That is 9 out of 13 districts either received excess or above-normal rainfall. Three districts namely Raichur (+10%), Bagalkot (-3%) and Yadgir (-17%) received normal rainfall, but only Bidar has so far recorded deficit rain (-28%).
Before the start of monsoon rains, the NIK region received very good rains during the summer between March and May. Summer was cooler than normal and, as forecasted, witnessed regular rains across the NIK region. For instance, five districts, namely Uttara Kannada, Vijayapura, Belagavi, Dharwad and Gadag, received excess rains anywhere between 75 to 316%. Four districts Haveri, Ballari, Koppal and Gulbarga received 35 to 40% more rains than normal for the period. Bagalkot, Raichur and Yadgir received rains equivalent to normal rains. However, even during summer Bidar received fewer rains by 20% compared to normal.
Between March 1and June 6, nine out of thirteen districts in the NIK region received either excess or above-normal rains. This should help achieve record sowing of rainfed Kharif crops like green gram, soybean, onion, groundnut, maize, cotton and chilli. Farmers are advised to purchase seeds from reliable sources, namely Farm Universities, RSKs, KSSC and licensed private retailers but always keep the receipt of the purchase until the crop was harvested.
However, though district level averages show good rains across most parts of NIK, there is likely that a large variation in actual. Rainfall received between villages or Hobli exist. This is a natural characteristic of the distribution of rainfall over space and time. Therefore, farmers at the Hobli level are advised to assess the sowing conditions and take up sowing only if the profile is wet enough to take up sowing or farmers have a facility to provide at least one irrigation soon after sowing.
Further, each farmer is advised to divide the total holding to go for at least 3 to 4 crops among the mainly grown crops of the region. This would help reduce the chances of complete failure of all sown areas and also avoid overproduction and price crash in the market. This would also spread farmer’s farm activities throughout the season and increase the chances of availability of labourers.