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Selected Indian Crops
General: The ideal planting time for most kharif(monsoon season) cereals and oilseed crops is between mid-June and mid-July. Planting can take place through late July and early August, but farmers will have to shift to lower yielding, short season varieties if they are available. Rainfall during the next two weeks will be very crucial in deciding the country's agricultural production this year. Fertilizer application is very low for most oilseeds. Availability of good quality seeds is limited, which is a major constraint in increasing oilseed yields in India. Farmers usually keep part of their production for seed purposes.
India's oilseed crushing capacity is only ~40% utilized - and this has been a lobbying point to allow more oilseed imports as long as the seed will not be used for sowing.
India produces about 193 million tonnes of
different food grains every year. All major grains
--paddy, wheat, maize, barley, millets like: jowar (great millet), bajra (pearl millet) & ragi (finger millet) are produced in the country. The country is self sufficient in grain production and is the second largest rice producer in world, with a 20% share. -GOI MoFP
India harvests two rice crops getting the bulk of the output from the winter crop, which is sown during June-July and harvesting starts in the last week of September. Assam and Bihar account for ~20% of IN rice crop. India Rice Calendar with Nomenclature of Indian Rice Crops
USDA uses Kharif and Rabi, while India sources use three seasons those being: Autumn, Winter, and Summer.
Indian Autumn Rice
Indian Winter Rice
Indian Summer Rice
1998 Post Information (Source: Report Code: IN9811A AGR
The 1998/99 crop, whose planting starts in June, will depend largely on the performance of the June to September monsoon rains as irrigation covers only 45% of the rice area. Eighty to ninety percent of the country's rice crop is planted at some point during the monsoon season. The rice crop is predominantly rain fed, except in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh, where the rice crop is almost entirely irrigated. Use of high yielding seed varieties is also largely confined to these states. Fertilizer application at the national level is not very high but in the states mentioned above, use is near optimum. The government's recent decision to reduce the subsidy on phosphatic and potassic fertilizers will have some negative impact on fertilizer application next year, which could further deteriorate the imbalanced application of NPK nutrients. Use of hybrid rice varieties is on a very small scale and has not achieved wide acceptability. Rice acreage has more or less stabilized in recent years and no significant shift in rice acreage is expected next year. Assuming normal rains and no significant decline in fertilizer application, 1998/99 rice production is forecast at 83.0 mmt. This includes around 1.0 mmt of the primarily export oriented "basmati" rice, whose production is mostly confined to Haryana, Punjab and western parts of Uttar Pradesh. Much of the historical increase in rice production has come from increased yields rather than area. Yields have benefitted from the spread of high yielding rice varieties and a near tripling of kharif season fertilizer application (mostly for rice) since 1980. Over the past 7 to 8 years, it appears that the annual marginal yield gains from better inputs have begun to slow. There are indications that the intensive rice/wheat rotation in northern India is causing soil problems (salinity, falling water tables, persistent weeds). Nevertheless, in the absence of a more profitable and less risky crop rotation, a major shift to less intensive crops appears unlikely. More than 4,000 varieties of rice are grown in India and farmers have generally adopted the varieties which are suitable for local consumption. For procurement purposes the government used to classify rice into three categories, namely: common (length to breadth ratio (L/B) less than 2.5); fine (L/B ratio 2.5 to 3.5) and superfine (L/B ratio more than 3.5). This year, however, the government decided to reclassify rice into only two categories, Common and Grade A, by merging the superfine and fine categories. The government support prices for common and Grade A varieties of paddy are rs. 4,150/mt and rs. 4,450/mt. Most of the rice procured in the surplus states of
India (rabi) Wheat
IN wheat notes: INDIA 1998/99 wheat is harvested in spring 1998.
The intensive wheat/rice crop rotation in the major wheat surplus states of Punjab, Haryana and western parts of Uttar Pradesh has escalated the weed problem and soil degradation (falling water table in some areas and water logging in others), thereby hampering the long-term prospects of increased wheat production. Phalaris minor, which has become resistant to traditional herbicides, has emerged as a serious weed problem in this region. The government permitted imports of new herbicides but this decision came too late to have any significant impact this year. Overall fertilizer availability is comfortable but owing to late planting nitrogen fertilizer application did not increase, despite the Agriculture Ministry's recommendation to apply higher dozes. The government recently decided to reduce subsidies on decontrolled phosphatic and potassic fertilizers, which could have an adverse impact on the use of phosphatic fertilizer use next year, and could further aggravate the nutrient imbalance.
Indian Coarse Grains: Several types of coarse grains are grown in India, which include sorghum, various types of millet, corn and barley. Coarse grains are a major staple for the rural and tribal populations in several states and an important feed source. Coarse grains are typically planted in non-irrigated areas and on marginal land, with limited use of inputs during the kharif (monsoon) season. However, barley, some corn and sorghum are grown during the winter season under irrigated conditions. In 1993, the latest year for which data are available, 32 percent of corn area, 6 percent of sorghum area and 7 percent of the millet area were irrigated. Consequently, production is highly dependent on rainfall and erratic compared to wheat and rice. The Green Revolution, which started in mid-sixties, focused largely on wheat and rice, which has resulted in a gradual shift in area under coarse grains to wheat and rice production. More recently there has been a shift in coarse grain area toward more profitable oilseeds like soybeans. Total coarse grain production and area in recent years have averaged 31 mt and 32 mha respectively. Future production growth prospects seem greatest for corn, where yields, at 1,600 kg/ha, are well below yields in other corn growing countries. Emerging poultry and dairy feed industries and a growing starch industry should create new market opportunities for farmers. Foreign investment in the seed industry has increased the use of yield improving hybrid seeds. India's 1997/98 total coarse grain production declined by 3.0 mmt to 31.0 mmt, largely due to unfavorable rainfall distribution in the major sorghum growing states of central and southern India. The 1997/98 production includes 9.0 mmt
Indian (rabi) Barley
Indian Rabi Sorghum
Sorghum = Jowar = great millet
gram = several types of lentils ~pulses
Indian Kharif Corn
Indian Rabi Corn
SOURCE: IN9811V AGR
With an annual production of around 10 mmt of corn from 6 mha, India ranks tenth in production and fifth in area planted among corn producing countries. The average corn yield in India, 1,600 kg/ha, is one of the lowest in the world, compared with 7,900 kg/ha in USA, 5,000 kg/ha in China and 3,200 kg/ha in Thailand.
Corn production in India registered rapid growth in the seventies and eighties increasing from around 6 mmt to 9.7 mmt in 1989/90. Most of the production increase during this period was due to an increase in yields, which increased from less than 1 ton/ha to 1.6/mt, mainly due to the introduction of high yielding varieties. Corn area remained at around 6 mha. Since 1989/90
production has stagnated at slightly lower than 10 mmt, except for 1996/97 when a record output of 10.6 mmt was achieved due to extremely favorable growing conditions. The 1997/98 production is likely to fall back to the 10 mmt level.
Corn is produced in most states. Production in 1996/97 for major producing states is shown below. Most of the increase in production in recent years occurred in Karnataka, and to a lesser extent in Andhra Pradesh, where almost the entire area is covered under hybrid corn. There has been some production increase in Bihar where corn cultivation has picked up in the winter season.
In most other states, where corn production is largely during the kharif (monsoon) season under rainfed conditions using mostly traditional varieties, production has either stagnated or declined. Area, production and per/hectare yield of corn by state in 1995/96 along with use major input use levels are shown in the following table:
Looking at the large inter-state yield variations as seen from the above table (3,382 kg/ha in Karnataka vs 1,111 kg/ha in Rajasthan) there would appear to be a large potential for increasing corn production in India through yield improvement. However, due to various agro-climatic and economic constraints yield growth has stagnated, except in a few states. These constraints are:
- A major share of the corn area is confined to arid and semi-arid regions and hilly areas under non-irrigated conditions where it is cultivated as a staple food by tribal people, who have no access or purchasing power to use hybrid seeds and modern technology.
- Most of the available hybrid corn varieties are long duration varieties (100-120 days) which do not fit into the cropping pattern in several states.
- Proper marketing facilities for corn are lacking and the support price operation is ineffective unlike the system for rice and wheat.
- The economic return from corn cultivation is low compared with competing crops like rice, soybeans and other oilseeds.
In recent years several large private national and multi-national seed companies have taken up hybrid maize seed production and have comme up with hybrids with high yield potential. However, India's restrictive seed import policy and weak plant variety protection provisions hamper importation and development of high quality seeds and prevent farmers from gaining access to better quality seeds. Indian government research organizations have also developed several high yielding and hybrid corn varieties. Recently one of the research institutes claims to have developed two early maturing hybrids using single crosses with high yield potential. However, due to poor extension services most better seed varieties developed by the government institutes do not reach farmers. There is a proposal to establish a Technology Mission for Corn to accelerate corn production. The corn processing industry has also established an Indian Maize Development Association to promote awareness and educate farmers about the benefits of maize cultivation and to promote use of corn.
Future projections of India's corn production is somewhat tricky as unpredictable monsoon rains could cause swings in production from the trend line. The table below shows trend line projections and likely variations from trend based on historical differences - largely due to weather.
Corn Production Projection in mmt
+ Trend Line -
Indian Kharif Groundnuts
Indian Rabi Groundnuts
Indian Soybean . . .
gen info: in the USA (1bu soybeans=11 lbs oil, 44 lbs meal, 4 lbs hulls) FAS Oilseed Report
Indian Rabi Rapeseed
Indian Northern Cotton
Indian Central & South Cotton
SOURCE: IN?Cotton in India is a kharif (monsoon season) crop with the planting season extending from May through September. Cotton in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan is mostly medium and short staple types planted during May mostly under irrigated conditions. The central states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, which account for the largest share of the cotton area, grow mostly medium and some long staple cotton. Planting starts in mid-June, with nearly 70 percent of the crop rainfed. Southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu grow the bulk of the country's long staple and extra long staple (ELS) cotton. Planting takes place during August/September; largely rainfed. Some pockets in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have a small summer cotton crop planted in January/February. About 32 percent of the cotton area has assured irrigation, mostly in north India. Nearly 40 percent of the cotton area is covered under hybrid cotton, mostly in central and southern states. Public and private sector companies meet nearly half the 80,000 mt seed requirement (mostly hybrids and new varieties) and the balance is supplied by informal sources (ginning units, local traders etc.). Most cotton farmers apply fertilizer at planting and flowering time. Pesticide applications may range from 4-5 sprays in some areas to 15-16 sprays in some of the pest prone areas of north India and Andhra Pradesh. Due to lack of irrigation, limited supplies of quality seeds and poor management practices, cotton yields in India are among the lowest in the world. Multiplicity of seed varieties are creating marketing and processing problems. There has been increasing supply of spurious pesticides and pests developing resistence to commonly used pesticides and insecticides. Although certified seeds and electric power to run tube wells are often in short supply, no unusual input shortages were experienced during 1997/98. However, fertilizer and pesticide applications during 1998/99 are likely to be lower due to the poor financial status of cotton farmers who suffered heavy crop losses during 1997/98.The government annually establishes minimum support prices (MSP) for cotton. The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), a government agency, is responsible for providing price support in all states except in Maharashtra, where there is state monopoly procurement. Typically market prices in most states are well above the MSP and CCI operations have been limited to purchases for commercial sale. The East India Cotton Association has the responsibility of implementing futures trading in cotton, which is expected to commence from July 17, 1998.
Cotton in India is a monsoon or kharif season crop (June- October). Cotton in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana andRajasthan is sown during May under irrigated conditions before the onset of monsoon rains. The central states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh account for the largest share of cotton area, and cotton is planted under rainfed conditions after the arrival of the monsoon in mid-June. The southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu grow the bulk of India's long staple and extra long staple cotton which is planted during August/September, largely under rainfed conditions.
September 18, 1997->>
Cotton is a monsoon (kharif) season crop. Nearly 31 percent of cotton area is irrigated, most of it in the northern states. Nearly 40 percent of area is under hybrid cotton, mostly in the central and southern states. The government of India has an "Intensive Cotton Development Program" in 11 cotton producing states focusing on seed development, production, and extension activities. In addition, state agriculture departments and the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) have launched a
number of extension activities such as production and distribution of genetically pure certified seeds, support to improve long staple varieties, development of naturally colored cottons, crop surveillance, and integrated pest management.June 1997-> 1997/98 planting intentions will be largely influenced by cotton prices and the price relationship with competing crops like rice in northern India, tobacco and chillies in south India, and oilseeds and sugarcane in central India. While cotton prices were weaker during the first part of the marketing year than they've been over the past two years, prices since March 1997 have increased, resulting in improved 1997/98 area prospects. Nevertheless, area is expected to shift to rice in Punjab and tobacco and chillies in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. This acreage shift is expected to be partially offset by increased acreage in the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, and the central Indian states where cotton is expected to gain at the expense of sugarcane. The net effect is that cotton area is forecast to decline slightly to 8.8 mha in 1997, which is still well above pre-1995 levels. Assuming a normal monsoon (the meteorological department is currently forecasting a normal monsoon), and normal winter weather in central India (i.e. no repeat of the unusual winter rains which have provided extra pickings in recent years), production is expected to decline to 15.5 million bales in 1997.t is likely that farmers in northern states and Andhra Pradesh may switch to other competing crops (rice/coarse cereals/sugarcane in northern states and tobacco/chillies/coarse cereals in Andhra Pradesh). farmers in the major soybean growing state of Madhya Pradesh have no alternative crop to plant. Inputs
Nearly 31 percent of cotton area is irrigated, most of it in the northern states. Nearly 40 percent of area is under hybrid cotton, mostly in the central and southern states. The government continues to provide subsidies for nitrogenous and phosphatic fertilizers. Fertilizer use varies by variety and cultivation practice, but most farmers apply fertilizer at planting and flowering. An estimated 80,000 mt of seed is required annually for planting; public and private seed companies meet only half of this requirement and the balance is supplied on-farm from the previous season's crop. While supplies of seeds and power for wells are often less than optimum, no unusual shortage of inputs like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, or power was experienced during 1996/97, nor are unusual shortages expected during 1997/98. Due to the lack of widespread irrigation, limited supplies of quality seeds, and poor management practices relating to pest control, cotton yields in India are quite low relative to other countries. The all India average yield in 1996/97 is estimated at 308 kg/ha, up 1.3 percent from 1995, and the highest since 1992. Reduced insect damage in northern India and extra pickings in central India helped to boost yields. Despite favorable weather, the quality of cotton from the northern region in terms of staple and grade continues to decline due to mixing of different seed varieties and is considered average.
Indian Sunflower mostly planted in southern India
Indian Millet (Bajra)
Indian Sugarcane - Sugar Cane 2 year growing season. Uttar Pradesh sugarcane crop accounts for 40% of IN output.
Indian Tea - Assam is the country's leading producer of tea. Tea is mainly grown on slopes.
Indian Buckwheat - Buck wheat - a
Date: 06-03-1997 :: Pg: 24 :: Col: e
Buck wheat, a pseudocereal grows in cool, moist temperate regions and
thrives best on sandy well drained soils.
The crop occupies the higher altitudes (600-3700 m) of the Himalayas,
from Kashmir to Sikkim Khasi hills, Manipur and the Nilgiris.
Cultivated species such as Fagopyrum esculentum Moench and F.
Tataricum garute, belong to the family polygonacese and the Indian buck
wheat. Tender shoots of the buck wheat are used as vegetables.
The grains contain about 13 per cent protein, 2 per cent fat, 3 per cent
mineral and 7 per cent lipids.
Grains are used to prepare bread, porridge, soup, sweet puddings,
pancake, biscuits, noodles and country liquors.
The crop can be used as fodder, green manure and soil binder. Dried plant
parts are a good source of `rutin', a glucoside used treat increased capillary
fragility and hypertension.
Flowers of buck wheat are a rich source of flavoured honey. It is estimated
that one hectare of buck wheat yields about 300 Kg of honey. A dye can
be extracted from buck wheat hulls.
Buck wheat is an erect annual herb of indeterminate growth. Humpriya,
VL 7, Kulu Gangri 1, Kulu Gandri 3, VHC 26 and VHC 27 are some of
the promising varieties of buck wheat.
The crop is generally grown during rainy season, sown in July and
harvested in October in North India but sown in April and harvested in
August in the Nilgiris.
The seed rate varies from 45-65 Kg/ha for grain purpose and 60-75
Kg/ha for vegetable purpose.
Time of harvest should be selected to prevent shattering of mature grains.
The grain yield level of the crop in the Nilgiris is in the range of 550-630
P. M. Sobarad and H. Mallikarjun
College of Agriculture
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