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Soybean yield set to hit all-time high

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Average is likely to set an all-time record this year after well-distributed rain helped better germination and vegetation of the crop.

The latest survey conducted by the Indore-based (Sopa) says India’s average yield could rise 8 per cent this year to set a record of 1,089 kg per hectare (ha). Last year, the average yield was reported at 1,006 kg per ha, as against 967 kg per ha in 2008. The survey forecasts that India’s total soybean output would set a new record to surpass the benchmark 10 million tonnes this year. The total output this year is estimated at 10.13 million tonnes as against 9.72 million tonnes in 2009 and 9.3 million tonnes in 2008.

The had earlier estimated the total sowing area under soybean at 9.3 million ha this year as against 9.67 million ha and 9.62 million ha in the preceding two years. Although the sowing area has declined marginally this year yet the favourable monsoon conditions are set to increase productivity, says Sopa coordinator and spokesperson Rajesh Agrawal.

The yield could have been even better had the late-sown crop in parts of the Indore region received better rainfall. Sopa had earlier estimated a yield of 1,200 kg per ha. The crop sown between July 15 and 30 did not receive adequate rainfall. Also, soybean sown during the early monsoon season was damaged in parts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. “But, the damage was negligible. Hence, the overall estimate is positive for us,” says Agrawal.

In Madhya Pradesh, nearly 30 per cent sowing took place during June. Good rains were received during the first week of July, resulting in a fast increase in sowing all over. The entire sowing was completed by the third week of July. Minor pest attacks and cases of disease were reported. In most fields, weed management was good, as a result of timely weedicide and insecticide sprays. The early varieties have matured and harvesting has already commenced in a few districts. It will pick up in the next two weeks and is likely to be completed by October 15.

Notably, in Madhya Pradesh, the impact of extension efforts is clearly visible. By and large, farmers have adopted most of the appropriate soybean production techniques, weed-management and plant-protection measures, etc. The estimated yield per hectare is 1,105 kg and the total production would be around 6.1 million tonnes in the country’s largest-producing state.

In Maharashtra, the second-largest producer, weather conditions were largely favourable this year in contrast with the drought conditions witnessed last year. Germination, vegetative growth, flowering, etc have been very good all over. No major pest or disease attacks were observed. Largely, the JS-335 variety of soybean was sown in the state. Nagpur, Vardha, Chandrapur, Hinguli and Wasim experienced higher rainfall, as a result of which there was higher weed growth and productivity could be affected.

During kharif this year, the area under soybean cultivation in the state is 2.6 million ha, which is 14 per cent lower than the 3.03 million ha in the previous year. The estimated yield per hectare stands at 1,058 kg and the total production would be 2.75 million tonnes. The drop in production can largely be attributed to the reduction in sowing area.

In Rajasthan, the area under soybean cultivation this kharif season was 6.920 lakh ha, almost on a par with last year’s figure of 7.094 lakh ha. The entire region under soya cultivation received normal rains and the general weather conditions remained favourable all through. The estimated yield per hectare for the state stands at 1,103 kg and the total production would be 763,300 tonnes as against 609,400 tonnes during 2009, a growth of 24.5 per cent.

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