India Cotton Production at Risk Due to Weak Monsoon, Gro Analysis Shows

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India’s critical monsoon is delivering below-normal rainfall across key agricultural producing regions so far this year, including Gujarat, India’s main cotton growing state. Gujarat has received less than half of the 10-year average rains since this year’s monsoon started on June 1, putting India at risk for a lower cotton harvest. 

A Gro analysis found that the success of the cotton crop is correlated with the rainfall accumulated during the June through September monsoon period.

Rainfall in Gujarat from June to mid-August is down 288 millimeters versus the 10-year average, Gro analytics show. That's similar to 2016 and 2012, when cotton production in the state was 49% and 28% below trend.

A third of India’s cotton production is concentrated in the northwestern state of Gujarat. As India is the second largest producer of cotton worldwide and the third largest exporter, a decline in the country’s cotton production could alter global trade flows. 

Gro’s state- and district-level data for India allows users to track and quantify the risk of a below-average monsoon. For example, this display in the Gro Navigator for Agriculture app shows weather conditions, including precipitation, temperature, and forecasts, specifically weighted for cotton-growing areas in Gujarat. Another view in the Gro Navigator app shows the state’s growing conditions, including soil moisture and NDVI, a measure of vegetative health.

Monsoons are an integral part of India’s farm economy. They provide more than three-quarters of India’s total annual rainfall, and are important for replenishing reservoirs and aquifers. Indian farmers start planting rain-fed crops such as rice, corn, cotton, soybeans, sugarcane and peanuts in June after the arrival of the monsoon. 

This insight was powered by the Gro platform, which enables better and faster decisions about factors affecting the entire global agricultural ecosystem. Gro organizes over 40,000 datasets from sources around the world into a unified ontology, which allows users to derive valuable insights such as this one. You can explore the data available on Gro with a free account, or please get in touch if you would like to learn more about a specific crop, region, or business issue.

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