In the last 10 days however, planting has picked up especially in Madhya Pradesh and Marathwada region.
After a slow start, soyabean planting has picked up with the monsoon rainfall becoming active in Madhya Pradesh and some parts of Maharashtra, top officials of the Soybean Processors Association of India ( SOPA) said. “At present, planting is little less than that of the last season since monsoons were delayed. The situation, however, is not as grim as it seems and may improve as the season progresses,” Davish Jain, chairman, SOPA said. Acreage may improve to about110 lakh hectare as last year. “Initially planting was slow because of the delayed monsoon.
In the last 10 days however, planting has picked up especially in Madhya Pradesh and Marathwada region. In July, the monsoons have been deficient. August is even more important when the plants are in the productive stage. Moisture stress at this stage could affect productivity. A prolonged dry spell could dry up the newly-germinated crop and hurt yield,” he said. Monsoon has been weak in Marathwada and it has been heavy in Madhya Pradesh. Across the country, 99% area under Soybean is rain-fed. Hence, the crop heavily depends on the monsoon.
Major soybean producing states may witness water stress in the middle of the crop season as reservoir status is below normal. A Skymet report singles out Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as the most vulnerable soybean-growing states. According to DN Pathak, executive director, SOPA, around 100 hectare has been planted so far. “It has been a little less than last year but it is difficult to say by how much,” he said.
Farmers are likely to opt for soybean instead of other crops, given that it is a sturdy crop and promises better returns, Jain said. Good returns from soybean this year, too, are likely to encourage farmers to choose the oilseed over other crops. Soybean is one of the few crops for which prices were higher than the support price this season. Soybean prices in Indore, a key wholesale market, have risen by about 18% since the start of the arrival season in October to Rs 3,800-3,880 per quintal largely due to local demand.
The prices are also higher than the minimum support price of Rs 3,399 per quintal. The country had reported a bumper 114.8 lakh tonne soybean crop in 2018-19 (Jul-Jun), much higher than 83.7 lakh tonne in 2017-18, according to SOPA estimates. BV Mehta, executive director, Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA), said, although the acreage may be down at this stage due to delayed planting, the crop situation is likely to improve. The MET Department has predicted fairly widespread rainfall with isolated heavy rainfalls likely over Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Goa during this period.