The lull in agricultural sowings till the other day due to a weak monsoon gave way to stepped up activity in the fields as the skies opened up over the weekend.
The farmers are busy raising nurseries of paddy not only in assured irrigation sources but even in rain-fed areas where the groundwater table was abysmally low. Transplantation of paddy was also taken up in some places.
According to official sources, the average rainfall across the State since the setting in of monsoon till Wednesday was 152.9 mm against the normal of 153.1 mm. Whereas, it was 202.2 mm during the period last year. The rain in last three days made all the difference as farmers took up sowings extensively.
Principal crops like paddy, maize, groundnut and sunflower were less than 25% of normal area till Wednesday. The total area sown under all crops in the State was 13.17 lakh hectares against the normal of 43.29 lakh hectares till that point. The coverage was less than 25% in 12 districts and anywhere from 26% to 50% in 14 districts.
The coverage crossed 50% only in four districts - Mahbubnagar, Jangaon, Adilabad and Nirmal.
Officials said the area under cotton was at least 8.75 lakh hectares less than last year as of now. But, no inference could be drawn from the shortfall of any crop as rains in the next one week to ten days may lead to brisk sowings.
Alternate crops could be considered by farmers in the event of deficit rains only after July 20.
The highest deficit rainfall of 49% to normal was reported in perennially drought-hit Sircilla district where the actual rainfall was only 92.6 mm against the normal of 180 mm. The highest rainfall was reported in all the four districts of undivided erstwhile Adilabad and Nizamabad.
Karimnagar, considered the rice bowl of Telangana, reported cropping of paddy over a mere 3,500 hectars against the normal till date of 8,600 hectares.
The groundwater depths ranged from 7.60 mts to 17.02 mts, and the latter in Ranga Reddy, in June, which was a matter of concern to farmers.