By admin       2018-07-16

Excessive rainfall marooned large swathes of land and cotton yield in the taluk may again be affected Having suffered water stress and drought during the last three years that depleted crop yield and negatively affected income, a section of cotton cultivators in H.D. Kote in Mysuru district are staring at a new crisis that is unfolding this year.Excessive rainfall has marooned large swathes of agricultural land and may once again affect cotton yield. The taluk has received 344.7 mm of rainfall against a normal of 233.4 mm from June 1 to July 13 and the forecast is of more rains.Cotton is the main commercial crop in H.D. Kote and almost 90% of the farmers cultivate it. The bulk of this is under rain-fed condition. Over the last few years, the indigenous variety of cotton has yielded space to transgenic Bt cotton and though the crop is water-intensive, it is the timing that matters.Vivek Cariappa, an organic farmer from Sargur in H.D. Kote, told The Hindu that the recent and continuing rainfall may benefit a few other crops but will not augur well for cotton as stagnant water has led to wilting of crops. “Excessive moisture without adequate sun has stunted the growth of cotton. Though there is good foliage, the yield will decline,” he said.Atihalli Devaraj, of Federation of Farmers’ Association, says, “Many cotton farmers in H.D. Kote belt have complained of flooding by incessant rains that has impacted the crop. The association plans to encourage farmers to opt for crop insurance to bail out of the crisis,” he said.The area of cotton cultivation in Mysuru district is around 45,750 hectares, most of which takes place in H.D. Kote, besides parts of Mysuru and Nanjangud taluks. “But there is no widespread damage to the crop as of now as per our assessment,” Somasundar, Joint Director of Agriculture, said. There may be a few localised instances of crop damage but by and large the situation is normal, he claimed while expressing confidence of a good harvest this year.Notwithstanding the official’s claim of near-normalcy, farmers aver that the yield was bound to decline as the weather conditions had turned extreme – from severe drought which affects the crop growth, to excessive moisture that was equally bad for the crop. Hence, they are already counting their losses.“The cost of cotton cultivation ranges anywhere between ₹20,000 to ₹22,000 per acre and if the yield is good the rates drop and farmers barely manage to break even. But when the yield is low or the crop is damaged, then farmers get enmeshed in a fresh cycle of financial crisis,” explained Mr. Cariappa.The yield per acre depends on various factors and under normal times of ideal weather conditions – which is very rare — about 6 to 8 quintals of cotton can be cultivated per acre.There is another factor that compounds the natural crisis. H.D. Kote and surrounding areas have predominantly black soil which has a high high moisture retention capacity. “Excessive rains tend to make the soil sticky. However, it becomes hard and dry during drought both of which affects the crop. H.D. Kote, Antharsanthe and Sargur are in the black soil belt,” he said.Cotton in the present scenario is being perceived as a loss making crop.

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