Indian farmers had sown cotton across 12.17 mln ha as of 22 Sep, up 18.7% from a year ago. Acreage was higher than the normal of 11.49 mln ha for the period, based on the average of last five years. Rise in acreage this year can be attributed to a shift in area from soybean, following higher returns from cotton. Cotton sowing typically starts in April in Punjab and Haryana due to better irrigation facilities in the two states. However, farmers in other key producing states like Maharashtra and Gujarat begin sowing the cash crop only after monsoon rains in June.