Rapeseed, groundnut, sunflower and safflower are cultivated mainly during the rabi season, the sowing for which starts around October and the crop is harvested from January onwards. The data showed that rapeseed, the largest oilseed grown during the rabi season, has been planted in around 1.47 million hectare, up from 947,000 hectare sown till October 30, 2007. Rapeseed is mainly grown in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh during the rabi season. Sunflower, another major oilseed grown during the season, has been planted on around 478,000 hectare, up from last years 330,000 hectare.
Groundnut, which has been planted on around 136,000 hectare up from last years 79,000 hectares, till October 30. Safflower has been sown on around 116,000 hectare, up from last years 109,000 hectare.
Sources said that late showers mainly over central India have left the soil with adequate moisture for farmers to start their rabi sowing earlier than expected. Though edible oil prices have fallen in the last few months as compared to last years levels, it has further aided sowing, a senior official said.
The southwest monsoon brought 48.7 millimetres (1.9 inches) of rain in the week ended September 24, more than the 50-year average of 35.7 millimetres for the period, the weather office said. Showers totalled 859.3 millimetres in the June 1-September 24 period, 1% less than the average.