Good and even distribution of rainfall over the last three days and the forecast of further rains owing to an active South-West monsoon has led farmers to sow crops in at least 50,000 hectares more than last year.
The acreage is expected to increase 25-30 per cent over the normal area of 81.12 lakh hectares, if the current trend continues.
The State has received 69 per cent excess rainfall against 73 per cent deficit last year as on June 15. This was the highest surplus over normal since 2003. With the result, the farmers have raised nurseries for paddy or taken up ploughing for other commercial crops over 4.06 lakh hectares against the normal of 3.51 lakh hectares (116 per cent increase).
Interestingly, 16 districts have received excess rainfall this year while all the 23 districts faced deficit on date this year. Five districts had normal and Nellore alone showed negative level this year. Adilabad, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal and Vizianagaram were the biggest recipients of rain.
The Assistant Director of Agriculture V.V. Vijaya Laxmi told The Hindu that they expected two to three lakh hectares more under paddy and one lakh hectares under cotton if the rains continued. The normal paddy area was 26.3 lakh hectares and 18.19 lakh hectares for cotton. The release of water by canal was expected to supplement the present well irrigation by June end.
The water levels in major reservoirs were a record this time which had given hope for early releases. Nagarjunasagar’s level on Saturday was 520.4 ft (510.8 ft last year), Srisailam 815.6 ft (799 ft), Jurala 1,030. 51 ft (1,027.56 ft), Thungabhadra 1,581.3 ft (1,580.85 ft) and Sriramsagar 1,056.10 ft (1,052.2 ft). Heavy rains in Karnataka have increased inflow in Jurala.
The farmers have also faced lesser problems on demand and supply front of seed which was reflected by fewer agitations this time. Except Mahyco, Mansanto and Raasi, all other brands of cotton seed were in excess supply.
The demand for Mahyco was 31.95 lakh packets but only 17.34 lakh packets were positioned.
Similarly, there was a shortage of 3.52 lakh Mansanto packets and 1 lakh packets of Raasi seed.