The paddy coverage in the State has shot up by more than 60,000 hectares during the current fiscal, thanks to early opening of the Mettur Dam for irrigation and also widespread rains.

According to a source in the agricultural department, the total coverage for ‘kharif' and ‘rabi' seasons put together had gone up to 15.8 lakh hectares as against 15.17 lakh hectares during the corresponding period last year.

Similarly, the area under sugarcane had also recorded a steep rise from 2.5 lakh hectares to 2.9 lakh hectares.

The current spell of rain has been extremely beneficial to all the rain-fed crops, especially pulses and millets. “This spell will not only improve the crops but also the area”, the source added.

“Our current thrust among the rain-fed crops is on pulses”, he said.

Apart from Villupuram, Cuddalore, Dharmapuri, Vellore, Tuticorin, rice fallows available in the delta regions like Nagapattinam after the harvest of ‘kuruvai' are the major pulse growing areas. During the current season, 2.1 lakh hectares of land was brought under pulses.

Similarly, with regard to millets, districts like Thiruvannamalai, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Coimbatore, Dindigul and Perambalur are the major contributors. Millets are raised on about 3.6 lakh hectares.

The sources said that enthused by the current rains farmers might go in for more coverage of pulses and millets.

“We will be immensely happy if they were to do so. On our part we are keeping the fertilizers ready. We have stocks of 50,000 metric tonnes of urea and 37,000 metric tonnes of DAP. Besides, we are regularly getting supplies from various sources.”