TAMIL NADU

Rain brings cheer to delta farmers

Thanjavur Nov. 13. Prospects of the samba crop, though raised late this year, have brightened in the delta districts of Thanjavur and Tiruvarur, thanks to the week-long rain.

Many farmers have taken up transplantation using rainwater and the condition of the one-month-old direct sown crop in Tiruvarur and Thiruthuraipoondi areas is reported to be good.

``We hope to get water from the Mettur dam to sustain the crop,'' said a farmer top-dressing fertilizer on a transplanted field near Koradachery.

Farmers were happy that the dam was opened today again for cultivation, as there had been no rain the past two days. They hoped that water from the dam would help them for a few days and the remaining monsoon period would see them through.

However, they may require water after January 28, when the dam would be closed, as the crop would be ready for harvest only at the fag end of February beginning owing to late cultivation.

In Tiruvarur district, direct sowing (sowing seeds and allowing them to grow in rain without transplantation, which reduces the quantity of water required) was done on 50,617 ha, mostly in the Thiruthuraipoondi and Muthupettai areas.

A visit to the areas revealed that the crops had come up well after the rain. Transplantation was completed on 35,790 ha. Totally, the crop was raised on 86,407 ha in Tiruvarur, against the plan of raising it on 1,38,240 ha. But if the present trend continues, the target can be achieved, say Agriculture department officials. But for this to happen, the crops require watering, at least thrice a month, and more rain.

The kuruvai season saw a shortfall of 29,423 ha, as the crop could be raised only on 6436 ha against the planned area of 35859 ha. The kuruvai shortfall would be offset in the samba season, the officials said. In areas where direct sowing was undertaken, farm labourers are engaged in removing weeds and top-dressing of fertilizers.

Against the expected rainfall of 1,200 mm from January to December, so far 969.85 mm was received. For November alone, the district should receive 345 mm and so far — in the past 13 days — only 98 mm was received.

The farmers have raised the short-term varieties of ADT36, ADT 43, ASD16, ASD18, CO47 and the medium-term ADT38, ADT 39, CO43 and ADT 42 on 30,370 ha. The long-term CR1009 was raised only on 10,800 ha, as time was short for raising samba crop.

In Thanjavur, transplantation was completed on 30,000 ha and direct sowing on 10,956 ha. As transplantation is expected to go on till month-end and as another 5,000 hectares is expected to come under direct sowing, officials say one lakh ha would be covered during the season.

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