USDA projects India’s cotton production to rise to 29.5 million bales in 2019-20; pegs soybean crop at 11 million tonnes

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasts India’s cotton production for 2019/20 at 29.5 million 480-pound bales, up nearly 2 per cent from last month and up 11 per cent from the previous year.

The increase is based on improved weather conditions in the major cotton areas of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Harvested area is estimated at 12.7 million hectares, up slightly from last month and last year. Yield is forecast at 506 kilograms per hectare, up 10 per cent from last year. Yield is expected to bounce back from last year’s drought, the report said.

Although the Southwest Monsoon was underperforming early in the season, it resumed and progressed in late July to the major cotton areas in central India: Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Currently, the crop is in the critical flowering stage in central India. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) analysis shows strong crop vigor in both Gujarat and Maharashtra, USDA said.

USDA’s Mumbai Agricultural office personnel traveled to Gujarat the first week of September. They reported that conditions were good to excellent in Gujarat.

USDA has also forecast India’s 2019/20 soybean production at 11.0 million tonnes, up nearly 7 per cent from last month, but down 4 per cent from last year.

Area of soybean croppage is estimated at 11.0 million hectares, unchanged from last month and last year. Yield is forecast to increase to 1.00 tonne per hectare, up 7 per cent from last month, but down nearly 4 per cent from last year. The 7-per cent-yield increase is due to improved weather conditions in the major soybean planted area, USDA said.

Both Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra received heavy rains in late July and early August. However, the heavy rains have diminished in the major soybean growing regions as the crop is reaching pod development. Cumulative precipitation is now slightly above the long-term average.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at

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