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India Rice: Prospects for Production Continue to Decline
Date:2014.10.22 Source:USDA

India's 2014/15 rice production is forecast at 102 million tons, down 4.3 percent from last year. Area is forecast at 43.5 million hectares, down 1.0 percent from last year. Paddy yield is forecast at 3.52 tons per hectare, down 3.4 percent from last year. 


The 2014 monsoon rainfall across India started late and was generally poorly distributed across the nation. The late start and below normal rainfall slowed rice seedling nursery preparations, resulting in delayed transplanting which subsequently affected overall area planted especially in Utter Pradesh, Bihar, and western Haryana. USDA’s yield simulation models indicate lower productivity prospects compared to the earlier projections. In September the rice crop in the northern states of Utter Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam entered critical reproductive stages (panicle initiation, ear growth and grain filling) under relatively less than favorable soil moisture conditions due to water deficits.


At the end of September, rainfall in major rice growing regions in India was generally below normal. The regions affected most included North West (Punjab, Haryana, and Utter Pradesh), South Peninsula, and the North East. However, the surface and subsurface soil moisture conditions remained favorable with the exception of South Peninsula. The major concern shaping the current USDA forecast is that the rice crop in the northern states of Utter Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam entered critical reproductive stages (tillering, panicle initiation, ear growth, and grain filling) under less-than-favorable soil moisture conditions. At the moment most yield models still indicate a high chance of an average yield. There is however some variation within the major rice growing states, with most states or regions showing good chance of an average yield, while forecast yield expectations in some states are mixed.


Approximately 85 percent of India’s rice is grown during kharif season (southwest monsoon season, May-September) mainly in Punjab, Haryana, and Utter Pradesh. It is estimated that 50 percent of kharif rice is irrigated using canals and tube wells. The rest of the rice crop is grown under irrigation during the rabi season (winter season, November-March). The rabi crop is predominantly grown in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka, Assam, and Tamil Nadu. Planting of rabi rice is about to start. Favorable soil moisture conditions, replenished irrigation reservoirs and relatively firm domestic prices will be very beneficial to a good start. Assuming normal weather conditions, higher rabi rice production may partially offset the lower than expected kharif productivity.     

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