The ongoing dry spell barring a few showers here and there has cast its shadow on the prospects of rain-fed kharif crops, as nearly half of the rural Telangana is witnessing high deficit of rainfall adversely impacting the vegetative growth of all crops and also leading to pest attacks on some crops including investment intensive cotton.
According to Agriculture Department officials, incidence of pink bollworm has been widely noticed mostly in Medak and Vikarabad and sporadically in several other districts due to the conducive conditions for sustenance of worms. The dry spell has also resulted in stunted growth of cotton in many parts of the State.
“But for the prevalence of cloudy conditions over the last few days, the damage to standing crops due to dry spell would have been much higher,” a senior official said admitting that the morale of the farming community was low as they fear either loss of investment or dented prospects on returns. For record, crops have been sown in about 80% of the normal area for the season already with 34.08 lakh hectares covered against 43.29 lakh ha but the time is running out fast for transplantation of kharif paddy which is taken up in 5.46 lakh ha against 9.5 lakh ha for the season.
The prospects of timely transplantation of paddy are depleting fast with ageing nurseries and increasing stress on groundwater table. Agriculture officials stated that heavy rainfall deficit of 20% to 59% is being experienced in about 264 mandals and in another 15 mandals it is over 60%, taking the total of mandals facing severe soil moisture stress to 279 out of a total of 568 rural mandals.
According to district-wise statistics of rainfall, the deficit is highest in Medak (43%) followed by Sangareddy and Siddipet (42%), Yadadri-Bhuvanagiri (40%), Jangaon (33%), Medchal-Malkajgiri (32%), Vikarabad and Wanaparthy (31%), Kamareddy (29%), Suryapet (28%), Warangal-Rural (27%) and Rajanna-Sircilla and Rangareddy (26%).
Good rains in the catchment areas of Krishna and its tributary Tungabhadra in Maharashtra and Karnataka, respectively, projects in the Krishna basin have received good inflows in July allowing release of water to the irrigations systems depending on Jurala, Tungabhadra and Srisailam reservoirs.
In Godavari basin, several medium irrigation projects have received copious inflows so far this season but major projects such as Sriramsagar, Nizamsagar and Singur are presenting bleak picture. Meanwhile, lack of proper inflows into Sriramsagar has forced the State government to hold back the decision on release of water to the ayacut in spite of increasing demand from the command area following the impact of deficit rainfall on the standing crops.
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