The state of Karnataka situated between 11.5º and 18º 27’ latitude and 74º 5’ and 78º 33’ longitude. Its area is 19.1 m.ha making for 5.8% of Indian’s geographic area. The population of Karnataka in 2001 was 5,27,33,958 comprising 2,68,56,343 males and 2,58,77,615 females. It formed 5.1% of India’s population. Compared to the National average of 65.38%, only 66 .02 % of Karnataka population lived in Villages. Population density in the state was 275/km2 The ultimate irrigation potential estimated up to the end of March, 2000 is 36,22,921 ha, (Including ground water) under major and minor irrigation. More judicious use of irrigation resources can enhance the state’s returns from agriculture.
Karnataka lies in the Agro Climatic Zone X and XII which is called as Karnataka Southern Plateau and Hill, West coast plain and Ghat Regions. Karnataka was divided into three regions. Costal Karnataka, Northern Interior and Southern Interior regions. It is divided into 10 Agro climatic Zones. North Eastern Transition, North Eastern Dry Zone, Northern Dry Zone, Central Dry zone, Eastern Dry Zone, Southern Dry Zone, Southern Transition Zone, Northern Transition Zone, Hilly Zone, Coastal Zone. In Karnataka minimum air temperature in January, normally remains above 6 Co, maximum temperature in May goes over 40o C in North-South-West of Karnataka. The rainfall is the most dominant climatic factor. Average rainfall varies from 500 to 3500 mm. The rainfall ranges from 456 mm in Northern regions and 1054 mm in Southern regions of 27 districts of Karnataka. In the drought prone districts of Bijapur, Raichur, Bellary, etc., the rainfall is in the order of 500 to 600mm.
(c )Cropping Pattern
Paddy, Maize, Jowar, Great millet, Bajra, Green gram, Groundnut, Sunflower, Cotton and Soybean are the major crops grown in kharif season. In most of the selected villages of Karnataka state, Great millet, wheat, Maize, Cotton, Bajra, Chillies, Onion, and Groundnut are the major crops grown in Rabi season. Sugarcane is the other major crop grown in the state.
(d )Land holding
Out of all the selected farmers, about 53% have land holding up to two hectares, 28% of farmers have 2-4 hectares and 17% of farmers have land holding above 4 hectares under not having tractor (NHT) category of farmers. While about 0.3% of farmers have land each in holding size up to 2 hectares and in holding size of 2 to 4 hectares. The cropping intensity varies from 123% to 195% in NHT category of farmers and 118% to 202% in HT category of farmers..
As in the rest of India, there has been a steady shift from animal power to electro-mechanical sources of power in Karnataka. Although the rate of change has been slower than that of the leading agricultural States. The availability of power is estimated at 0.78 kW/ha. Out of this about 90% comes from tractors, engines and motors. There is great scope of selective mechanisation in the state. The demand for power operated equipment has increased during last few years. Equipment for SRI method of paddy cultivation needs to be developed and introduced in the state. Tractor mounted combine harvesters are being used for harvesting paddy. The paddy nursery raising need to be mechanised if the mat type paddy transplanting is to be adopted by the farmers. Efforts need to be made to commercialise production of mat type paddy nursery raising. Custom hiring centres need to be opened by motivating young agricultural/agricultural engineering graduates/cooperatives.