Rains pick up in past week, monsoon withdrawal eyed

Rains pick up in past week, monsoon withdrawal eyed

New Delhi: The monsoon rains were 29% above normal in the week to 21 September, strengthening from 1% above average in the previous week, the weather office said on Thursday, adding the rains may start their withdrawal after a couple of days.

The monsoon rains were 4% above average since the start of the June-September season, in line with the weather office’s latest forecast of a normal monsoon in 2011, which means rains of 96 to 104% of a long-term average.

Normal rains so far over major crop producing regions have helped planting of summer crops like rice, cane and oilseeds, and boosted prospects for their output.

“Conditions are favorable for withdrawal of southwest monsoon from parts of northwest India after 1-2 days," the weather office said in its daily report.

Usually, the monsoon starts withdrawing from western Rajasthan state from early September, and this year a delay in withdrawal could hurt summer-sown crops ready for harvesting.

“So far monsoon rainfall was good, but more rains in coming weeks are not good for any crop. They will only damage the crop. They may trim yields," said Vedika Narvekar, senior analyst with Angel Broking.

In 2010, late withdrawal of monsoon rains had trimmed cotton yields and forced sugar factories to postpone cane crushing.

India’s monsoon rains are crucial to crop production in 60% of the country that does not have adequate irrigation.

Last week, the monsoon rains were good over rice growing eastern and northern regions. Rainfall was slightly lower-than normal in central Madhya Pradesh state, the biggest producer of soybean in the country, helping farmers start soybean harvesting.