Scanty rainfall during September is expected to affect 29 per cent of the area under cultivation in rain-fed regions in the district.

Of the 2,87,773 hectares under crop cover in the rain-fed areas, 82,885 ha have been affected. In Mysore taluk, where nearly half the area is feared to have been affected, according to P.R. Krishnaiah, Joint Director of Agriculture.

Crops have begun to wither and have stunted growth in some taluks, he said.

Cause for hope

Notwithstanding deficient rainfall, there was room for optimism — it had been raining across the district for the last three days and hardy crops such as ragi could survive, Mr. Krishnaiah said.

There had been no problem till August, when agricultural activity was in full swing, he explained. However, the poor rainfall in September affected the crops that were sown late. Also, the standing crops experienced moisture stress, as a result of which the yield could decline considerably.

Horse gram, which is grown across the district, Bengal gram (H.D. Kote and Nanjangud taluks) and rabi jowar (Nanjangud) did not get adequate moisture and their growth was stunted. Groundnut cultivated on 1,760 ha in T. Narsipur was also affected, the official said.

Farmers would probably take up cultivation of horse gram, for which no seeds need to be distributed by the department as farmers used their own stock. The department distributed 125 quintals of Bengal gram seeds and another 100 quintals would be distributed in the next couple of days, Mr. Krishnaiah said.

There was no shortage of fertilizer, he added.

Below average rainfall

Although the southwest monsoon was near-normal this season, there was failure of rain in September. As against an average of 101.7 mm for the month, the district received only 62.4 mm rain.

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