Excess Monsoon Rainfall Raise Concerns for India’s 2013/14 Soybean Productivity
USDA estimates India's 2013/14 soybean production at a record 12.3 million tons, up 0.3 million or 2.5 percent from the previous month and up 7 percent from last year. Area is forecast at a record 11.9 million hectares, up 8 percent from previous month, and up 10 percent from last year. The yield is forecast at 1.03 tons per hectare, down 5 percent from the previous month, and down 2.5 percent from last year. India’s soybeans are grown exclusively during the kharif (southwest monsoon season) under rainfed conditions.
There are two factors shaping the USDA’s forecast: increased plantings encouraged by early and widespread monsoon rainfall and the impact of excessive rainfall on potential yields generally resulting in lower-than-expected yields across the major soybean growing regions. The main soybean producing states are Madhya Pradesh (53 percent), Maharashtra (34 percent), and Rajasthan (8 percent). As of August soybean sowing operations were still in progress. The optimal planting period is mid-June to mid-July. Early and widespread monsoon rainfall encouraged plantings and is resulting in record plantings across the country. According to official Government of India sowing progress reports at the end of July, area sown was at approximately 12 million hectares, representing 15 percent increase compared to the same period last year. The reported sown area is approximately 99.8 percent of the USDA’s projected area.
The 2013 monsoon rainfall across India started a month early and has been characterized as widespread with favorable-to-excess distribution. Most of the major soybean growing areas of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and south east Rajasthan received significantly above-normal precipitation in June, July and August. Overall cumulative rainfall was up 13 to 16 percent from the long-term-average. In the month of July the rainfall departures from normal ranged from 38 percent higher than normal in North West India, 42 percent in Central India and 27 percent in the South Peninsula.
The early and abundant rainfall has boosted area; however, the continued excessive rainfall in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan is raising major concerns to the growth and productivity of soybean. There is general agreement among observers and experts that excess rainfall is likely to result in significantly lower-than expected yields. As is true for other grain crops, soybean growth and development are also influenced by temperature. The seasonal temperatures have so far been within the expected range. Satellite image observations and analysis showed increased plantings and increased vegetative indices across Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and south east Rajasthan. (For more information contact Dath Mita, PhD, at 202 720 7339, firstname.lastname@example.org)
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