Monsoon keeps its date, but dry spells a worry for paddy crop

Despite Goa receiving more than normal rainfall this year beating the El-Nino effect, agriculture experts feel the erratic dry spells witnessed in between will decrease paddy production per unit area.

Panaji: Despite Goa receiving more than normal rainfall this year beating the El-Nino effect, agriculture experts feel the erratic dry spells witnessed in between will decrease paddy production per unit area.

"Though the overall rainfall has been satisfactory, there have been erratic dry spells during the last 25-30 days. This break in monsoon over a period of time will affect the grain output in coastal sandy soils and uplands where there are chances of drastic yield reduction," Indian Council for Agricultural Research's (ICAR) scientist on Goa campus Dr HR Prabhudesai said.

The period from late September to October is very crucial for rice crop, since it (crop) passes through four rapid stages during these last months.

"These stages are panicle initiation, milky stage, dough stage and grain formation stage. Any water stress during these phases has direct effect on final grain yield," he said.

The water stress at these critical stages may result in "empty earheads" and grain locally termed as "Pol". However, in low lying paddy fields, which have a better water holding capacity due to the clay content in such soils, the yields may be satisfactory, he said.

"Overall, I feel given the lethargic attitude of majority of farmers who leave everything to nature after sowing the crop, the paddy production per unit area will be less as compared to normal," he added.

According to MeT department's local observatory, the state received 106 inches of rainfall this monsoon season.

The post-monsoon showers are also proving to be worry for the farmers.

Prabhudesai said if post-monsoon showers coincide with the harvesting stage with crop showing signs of over maturity, there could be "lodging of plant" with ultimate grain loss.

Noted weather enthusiast Atul Naik said despite all the worries including El-Nino effect, the monsoon was good.

"Even though the seasonal monsoon rains in 2014 were less than 2013, the fears of El Nino did not materialise and the copious rains in August were just enough to turn the deficit into a 3 per cent surplus rainfall season for Goa," said Naik, who blogs on the weather.

"Monsoon season 2014 started with?the scary prospect of deficient rains. There was a talk everywhere of an El Nino in August-September. And to compound the problem,?arrival of the rains in Goa was delayed by five days. From June 1 to 30, Goa received nearly 46 per cent deficient rains. But it was the copious rains that Goa received in July and August which turned the tide," said Naik, who is also president of Margao Chapter of Association of Friends of Astronomy.

"In 2014 in the final analysis,?from June 1 to September 30, Goa received area weighted average rainfall of 3,057.2 mm (120.36 inches) against normal of 2,971.7 mm (117 inches) showing a surplus of 3 per cent," he said quoting the figures from IMD.

Valpoi at the base of the Western Ghats in the eastern interior Goa retained the title of the wettest place in Goa for 2014 with 4111.4 mm (161.87 inches) of seasonal rains, he added.  

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