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India. Winter temperatures this coming December through February, along with precipitation will be critical

28.12.2020 14:10 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U. S. Department of Agriculture attache in The New Delhi, Thanks to the 2020 monsoons timely retreat and well-timed harvest of the kharif (fall harvested) crops (i.e., rice, corn, other coarse grains, and pulses), planting of the rabi season (winter sown, spring harvested) crops commenced on time the third week of October under optimal soil moisture conditions and irrigation water availability. The 2020 monsoon rains arrived on time, improving ground water and reservoir water levels.

Good rainfall amounts support the prospects for a higher rabi planting in the upcoming season.

Ongoing farmer agitation against the three new farm laws passed since the last week of November 2020 India Farmer Demonstrations Continue Against Historic Agricultural Market Reforms — December 5, 2020) is unlikely to impact the overall planting prospect for rabi crops. Most of the protesting farmers are from Indias northern states of Punjab, Haryana, and West Uttar Pradesh. These farmers completed planting of wheat, the major rabi crop, by mid-November, about 1–2 week ahead of normal.

Agriculture operations in these states and other parts of the country is largely unaffected; protest is limited to the borders of Delhi, Indias National Capital Region.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoAFW) estimates total area sown through December 11, 2020, at 50.7 million hectares (MHa) compared to 48.8 MHa planted at the same time last year.

Planting in the ongoing rabi season for wheat, pulses (i.e., gram, lentils, mung beans, and black eye beans) and oilseeds (rapeseed, mustard, and safflower) is significantly ahead of last years plantings. However, plantings of rice and coarse grains such as corn, sorghum, and barley are lagging.

Field sources report that planting is now progressing well in most states and is likely to continue through midDecember 2020. Market sources report that planting of pulses and oilseeds are supported by high market prices. Wheat counts with assured returns, thanks to the Indian governments Minimum Support Program

(MSP) prices and procurement, that supports plantings in the upcoming season.

In market year (MY) 2020/2021 (April-March), the government ensured that Indian wheat farmers confronted less coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak lockdown restrictions while marketing the harvest (running from April through May) than other sectors of the economy. Record setting government procurement occurred in MY 2020/2021, thanks to the expansion in the number of procurements centers and the special relaxation for farmers on lockdown restrictions.

Winter temperatures this coming December through February, along with precipitation will be critical. Lower temperatures and scattered rains during the December-January period will support plant growth, and an extended winter in February-March months will help boost yield prospects.

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