Neel Kamal| TNN | Feb 9, 2018,
BATHINDA: The state agriculture department and trade bodies expect the cotton production to be lowered further by nearly 60,000 bales from the previous estimates of 10.97 lakh bales (1 bale = 170kg) in Punjab for the 2017-18 crop year (September 1, 2017-August 31, 2018).
The latest estimation of production of cotton, which is Punjab's second biggest kharif (summer sown) crop after paddy including basmati, has been put at 10.37 lakh bales as on January 31. At the start of cotton procurement season in September 2017, cotton outputestimates in Punjab were 12 lakh bales, which were revised in December to 10.97 lakh bales. Cotton had been sown over 3.82 lakh hectares in Punjab this season whereas in 2016, area under the fibre crop was 2.57 lakh hectares. In the 2016-17 crop year, Punjab had an output of 8.57 lakh bales of raw cotton with an average yield of 655 kg per acre. In the current season, the yield is expected to decrease to 550kg per acre.
Till January 31, 2018, arrivals of 6.92 lakh bales of cotton were recorded in the markets of Punjab whereas in the corresponding period last year, arrivals were 5.91 lakh bales. Cotton output target has also been lowered in neighbouring Haryanaand Rajasthan. Farm department and experts are citing deficient rainfall in July-August 2017 and less availability of canal water as the reasons for the drop in yield of cotton this season.
Apart from getting lower yields, farmers are also impacted by weak rates of raw cotton. Currently, raw cotton is selling at Rs 5,100-5,200 per quintal, down from Rs 5,600-5,700 in the corresponding period last year. (Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com)