August 7, 2008


India corn yield may decline on low rains, late sowing

Low rains during the early planting period and late sowing by farmers are likely to affect the yield of India's summer-sown corn crop, an industry official said on Wednesday (August 6, 2008).


Sowing of the corn crop has been lagging in the major producing states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka due to poor rainfall in June and early July.


"This has led to late sowing in many areas and is likely to affect the crop's productivity. However, we will be able the gauge the crop situation in another couple of weeks, by which time sowing should be completed," Amit Sachdev, the India representative of the US Grains Council, said.


As of July 31, corn planting in the country was 11.4 percent lower at 5.85 million hectares compared with 6.60 million hectares a year ago.


The area under corn cultivation has also been lower so far due to farmers shifting to other cash crops, Sachdev said.


"In Maharashtra and Karnataka, farmers are shifting to soy and in other areas, rice planting is picking up," he said.


He said although there has been a revival in rains over the last week in many of the corn growing areas, some parts are still suffering from water scarcity.


The lower acreage coupled with good exports have boosted corn prices in the local markets to INR 10,700 per tonne currently, compared with INR 7,440 per tonne a year ago.


Sachdev said prices will likely rise further, beyond INR 11,000 per tonne, until the new crop arrives in October, he said.


"Prices won't come down anytime soon as a lower acreage has led to expectations that output might be lower than last year's," said Sachdev.


Last year, India produced a total of 19.31 million tonnes of corn during the summer and winter crop seasons together, according to government statistics.


US$1 = INR 41.8938 (August 7, 2008)

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