Mustard seed acreage declined 8 per cent to 6.35 million hectare until Dec 29 as warm weather hit sowing operations in Rajasthan. In 2016-17, farmers planted mustard seed on 6.89 million hectares till Dec 29 while total acreages was at 7.05 m hectare, agriculture ministry data showed.
"Warm weather in Rajasthan adversely impacted the overall sowing of mustard seed and acreage fell nearly 26 per cent to 2.05 million hectare and any improvement is unlikely now," a senior official of agriculture ministry said.
Rajasthan is the largest mustard seed producing state and last year area under the seed stood at 2.77 million hectares and for this year the state government set a target of 2.8 million hectare. Normally, southwest monsoon starts withdrawing from Rajasthan by early September but in 2017 it was delayed though rain remained weak in the state.
Mustard seed is the major rabi oilseed crop and generally sown during October-November. In Uttar Pradesh, the sowing stood at1.21 million hectare a year ago. It is the second largest mustard seed producing state. Mustard sowing in Madhya Pradesh improved to 750,000 hectare from 700,000 hectare a year ago. Sowing under mustard seed also increased in Assam, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
Meanwhile, crushing of mustard during Dec slipped 11 per cent compared to previous month. "Dispartiy in crushing rate resulted by weak demand in domestic market kept crushing activity subdued for December," said Anil Chatar, director, Marudhar Trading Company. Mustard seed crushing dropped to 425,000 tons in Dec compared to 475,000 tons in Nov, said traders.
(With inputs from Dimple Chauhan)