While the planting of the Rabi pulse crop in India has taken a huge leap forward over the past week, it remains well behind the previous year's pace and bears watching. As of Oct. 26, planting of pulses was reported to be 70% behind the same period in 2017. A delayed kharif or summer crop harvest is partially behind this slower pace, as are dry conditions that are slowing activity.
Nov. 2 data shows the pace of pulse crop planting to be 10.29% below last year's pace at 6.2 million acres planted, just slower than the average pace of all crops, which points to a pace of activity that is 8.7% behind 2017. Breaking this down further, chickpea planting is 15.2% behind last year while lentil planting is 25.8% behind last year.
It is interesting to note that the pace of wheat planting as of Nov. 2 is 58.6% higher than the same period last crop year. Coincidentally, the USDA's India Grain and Feed Update for November was released on Monday. In this report, the USDA notes that despite hikes in the minimum support price announced for chickpeas and lentils, producers will tend to favor wheat due to the existence of more established government programs to source product from producers.
The India Meteorological Department's End of Season Report for the 2018 Southwest Monsoon shows the June through September rainfall across the country reaching 91% of its long-term average, with 31% of the country viewed as receiving rainfall viewed as deficient. During the month of October, five of the 36 regions or sub-divisions of the country received normal rainfall, seven regions were reported as deficient and 24 regions or two-thirds of the country are reported in the large deficient category. Cumulative rainfall for the month across the country is estimated 56% below normal.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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