Rain shores up farmers’ hopes

By TheHindu on 02 May 2019 | read

The pre-monsoon rains during the last 24 hours and overcast conditions has brought cheer to the farmers eager to kick-start the new agricultural season for the current year.

The prolonged dry spell and the delay in the onset of pre-monsoon rains had rendered the earth dry and the fields lacked adequate moisture for the farmers to even prepare the land to take up agricultural activity which has been delayed by nearly 15 to 20 days.

But with perceptible changes in the weather pattern during the last 48 hours, farmers are now hopeful of more rains which will enable them to take up agricultural activity.

“It is normal to receive 2 to 3 heavy rains during April which used to help us prepare the land for tilling and sowing during the monsoon which sets in June. But this year, there was a prolonged dry spell and rainfall was uneven across the district which has delayed the preparatory works for agricultural activity’’, according to Atahalli Devaraj, a farmer and secretary of the State Sugarcane Cultivators Association.

The bulk of agricultural activity in the district takes place under rain-fed conditions. Hence there is great dependence on pre-monsoon rains for preparatory work before actual agricultural operations can commence.

But the dry spell caused water distress and even farmers endowed with irrigation pumpsets were unable to make the land moist as the groundwater level had dipped during summer.

“Besides, there is no regular power supply and hence farmers with borewell connections were content cultivating vegetables and other short-term crops on a small scale’’, said Mr. Devaraj.

However, the weather is favourable to the farmers since the last few days. According to the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC), the cumulative rainfall in Mysuru district from January to May 1 was 85.14 mm against an average of 86.10 mm for the same period and the variation was only one percent below normal.

But this was entirely compensated due to rains received during the 24 hour period ending 8.30 a.m. on May 1 during which Mysuru district received an average rainfall of 14.6 mm against a normal of 4.7 mm and it was 211 per cent above normal for the day.

Mandya district received 18.8 mm against a normal of 3.4 mm during the same period while Chamarajanagar district received 9.3 mm against a normal of 3.4 mm.

But farmers aver that for agriculture to be sustainable rains should be widespread and uniform for a few days; sudden and heavy precipitation preceded and followed by prolonged dry spell will not help the crops. A case in point is the condition of cotton cultivators in H.D.Kote.

Members of the Sugarcane Cultivators Association pointed out that H.D. Kote taluk received heavy rains three weeks ago which encouraged farmers to prepare the land and take up cotton cultivation. But it was followed by a dry spell as a result of which crops wilted. Hence farmers are keeping their fingers crossed.