Konkan and Madhya Maharashtra are among the eight subdivisions in India with deficient May rain. This deficit become a concern for the farmers in Maharashtra considering earlier forecasts by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicting a subpar monsoon in the state. May ended in Konkan and Madhya Maharashtra with 62% and 36% rain deficiency, respectively.
IMD statistics revealed that Madhya Maharashtra received 10.9 mm during May this year as against the normal of 17.1 mm. Konkan registered a largely deficient rainfall – 9.6 mm against a normal of 25.4 mm.
Growers TOI spoke to are of the view that good pre-monsoon showers around May-end help maintain the soil moisture for kharif sowing, which gets a further boost once monsoon enters the state.
“We had rain in March and April this year. But May saw minimal showers. It should have been the other way around. If there are good pre-monsoon showers in May, then it is easy to undertake sowing once the monsoon arrives in June. Some rainfall in May and good rain in June and July is especially necessary for kharif grain such as rice,” said Balkrishna Pate, director at a Narayangaon-based farmers’ producer company.
“Moreover, with forecasts of likely delays in monsoon arrival and less-than-normal June rain in the state this year, it is a double whammy for farmers. These factors are likely to delay kharif sowing,” he said.
Vijay Thube, director of another farmers’ producer company in Pune district, said, “The soil has heated up so much in parts of the state that sowing vegetable crops has also been a problem even in areas where sufficient irrigation is available. This type of soil tends to burn the roots of vegetables. Also, such soils will require copious irrigation, which is sometimes not viable.”
Dilip Zende, director of agriculture (extension and training), Maharashtra, told TOI, “May rainfall eases the process of land preparation for kharif sowing. If there are no standing crops in the harvesting stage in fields, pre- monsoon showers in May can benefit soil tillage operations.”
He said, “The pre-monsoon showers moisten the soil, making it more conducive for sowing seeds. They help in softening the soil, breaking up clods and creating a favourable environment for seed germination and root development.”