Maharashtra cotton output may fall on dry weather


PUNE: Dry weather has taken a toll on cotton production in Maharashtra, the second largest cotton producer in the country. The third advance estimate has shown production at 68 lakh bales, down16 lakh bales, or 19%, when compared with the first advance estimate of 84 lakh bales.

According to the data provided by the state agriculture department, the area under cotton in the previous year was at 39.42 lakh ha while production was at 74.73 lakh bales. Due to last year’s good prices, acreage increased to 41.26 lakh ha this year.

When compared with last year’s actual production, output according to the third advance estimate is less by 9.3%.

The state agriculture department recently prepared the third advance estimate based on crop-cutting patterns. The estimates based on crop-cutting are closer to the actual figures when compared with the first advance estimates. The recent estimates expect the per-hectare yield to be at 280 kg/ha as against 355 kg/ha recorded last year.

Maharashtra has highest acreage under cotton in the country but 97% of it is rain-fed. Moisture availability was critical this year. “Sowing was delayed by about one or two weeks in Vidarbha and Marathwada due to the late arrival of monsoon.

Then there were two dry spells during the growth phase. Again, rainfall during the withdrawal of monsoon was also absent this year,” said BR Patil, senior scientist (cotton), Panjabrao Deshmukh Krish Vidyapeeth, Akola.

According to the data available on the Cotton Corporation of India’s (CCI) website, cotton productivity has declined in almost all cotton-growing states in the country. The average all-India cotton yield has declined from 517 kg/ha to 481 kg/ha.

“The yield of cotton has declined in many parts. Last year, there were additional pickings of cotton in Maharashtra due to late rainfall in November. This year, the drop in yield is more in Maharashtra because 97% cotton is rain-fed,” said KR Kranthi, Central Institute for Cotton Research, Nagpur.