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Commodity Intelligence Report
January 21, 2006

India Rapeseed: Price Supports and Rain Contribute to Record Area

Late monsoon rainfall combined with favorable prices have resulted in a record sown area for 2005/06 India rapeseed.   Harvested area is forecast at 7.2 million hectares and yield, similar to the past three season, at 0.94 tons per hectare.  Production is forecast at 6.8 million tons, up 0.4 million from last month and up 0.3 million from last year. 

The Indian rapeseed crop is grown during the winter or Rabi season.  The 2005/06 crop, planted in November 2005, has benefited from late monsoon rainfall and subsequent favorable soil moisture profile during sowing and early plant establishment.  The following chart shows the highly correlated relationship between pre-sowing rainfall amounts and crop area.

India rapeseed area versus  presowing rainfall.

The mostly rainfed crops in Rajasthan and Haryana produce one half of India 's rapeseed.  The majority of the rapeseed will be harvested in late March this season and corresponds to the USDA Marketing Year (MY) 2005/06.  Rapeseed is grown throughout the country, but three states account for most of the production: Rajasthan (40%), Haryana (16%), and Uttar Pradesh (16%).  The major rapeseed growing areas are illustrated in green in the map below.

India major rapeseed production sites.

The Ministry of Agriculture reported a sown area of 7.17 MHa as of January 2. This is 0.4 million hectares, or 6 percent more than was sown last season by this time.  The following chart shows planting progress this season (in red) compared sowing progress for last season (in yellow).  The latest data reveals a larger area sown for the current season. At this time last season approximately 98 percent of the final area had been sown.

India rapeseed sowing progress.

In summary, the area sown thus far is a record and is likely to support a sizeable crop.   Farmers responded to higher government prices last season by sowing more rapeseed than in preceding years. According to sources in  New Delhi, the 2005/06 season will see a continuation of favorable government support prices for oilseeds.  The major determining factor for the crop from this point forward will be the weather.  The critical time period for rapeseed development occurs during the winter months. A review of past seasons indicates cooler temperatures during January extending into February are correlated with higher yields. 

For more information contact Jim Crutchfield | | (202) 690-0135

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India rapeseed production — enlarged image.