August 7, 2012
Low rainfall may affect India's cotton yield by 12%
In the 2012-13 marketing year, India's cotton output may drop by 12% to 30 million bales beginning this August, based on the latest USDA report.
India, the world's second biggest cotton grower and exporter, had produced a record 34.25 million bales in the 2011-12 marketing year (August-July). One bale contains 170 kg of cotton.
In its first estimate in April, the USDA had pegged India's cotton production at 32.3 million bales for 2012-13. It has now revised downwards its forecast to 30 million bales.
"While August rains could spur farmers to plant more cotton, persistent dry conditions at this late stage suggest that planted area will drop further. Yields are also expected to drop further to 480 kg per hectare, lowering production to 30 million bales, down 7,00,000 bales from the current estimate," the USDA said in its latest report.
Based on lower production prospect, exports are also expected to decline to 5.4 million bales 2012-13 from 12.68 million bales last year, it said.
Monsoon is deficient by 20% so far. Dry conditions persist in key cotton growing states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and certain areas of Karnataka, it said.
According to the USDA, farmers are expected to sow cotton in a total area of 10.6 million hectare this year, 200,000 hectare less than the first estimate and much lower than the government's targeted area of 11.5 million hectares.
Quoting trade and official sources, USDA said farmers in Gujarat and Maharashtra, the country's largest cotton producing states, could still increase area if it rains in August, but yields may be affected due to late planting.
About two-thirds of the country's cotton is produced in the central cotton growing zone in the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha where much of the crop is rain-fed.