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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

India’s Summer-Sown Corn Production to be Cut 15% by Drought

The first back-to-back drought to hit India in 30 years is driving the country’s farmers to leave land fallow, leading to an estimated 15% drop in India’s summer-sown corn output, according to trade and industry officials.

India has two main corn crops – the summer crop that is responsible for 80% of total output, which is planted in June and July and harvested beginning in October, and a winter crop, which is planted in October and November and harvested in March and April.

The drop in output in the key corn exporter to Southeast Asia, just when global markets are seeing gluts of corn from the U.S. and South America, should help strengthen global prices, which have fallen to a 10-month low of $3.46-1/2 per bushel.

Throughout the four-month monsoon season that began in June, rainfall has been 16% below average – a fact that impacts India more than it would other producers, as more than half of India’s farmland lacks irrigation infrastructure. The effects have been most pronounced in the southern states of Telangana, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh that produce high-yielding hybrid corn varieties, where farmers were unable to plow some areas, and corn output from the three regions could likely fall to between 3.2 and 4.2 million tons from 6.5 million tons the previous season.

Overall yields in India are predicted to be around 1.9 tons per hectare, indicating a harvest totaling 13.8 million tons compared to last year’s harvest of 16.5 million tons.

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