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    Pink bollworm threats: Scientists and progressive farmers asks peasants not to panic Recommend Prudent Use of Science, Agronomy, and Chemistry to Mitigate Pink Bollworm Challenges

  • Date : 02 November, 2023

     Chandigarh: In wake of pink bollworm infestations in north Rajasthan and parts of Punjab, scientists have asked farmers not to panic but to rely on science, agronomy, and chemistry as their allies.

    Farmers in North Rajasthan and the border areas of Punjab have recently voiced concerns regarding the health of their cotton crops and the invasion of the pink bollworm, a pest that affects cotton crops. The pink bollworm is a menace to cotton crops, with its impact exacerbated by factors such as climate conditions, lack of crop rotation, and the development of resistance to certain pesticides and Bt. cotton varieties over time. In response to these concerns, experts and progressive farmers stress the importance of adopting a strategic approach to combat the pink bollworm challenge.

    To effectively control pink bollworm infestation in cotton crops, experts and progressive farmers advise adopting a strategic approach, which includes crop rotation to disrupt the pest's life cycle and prevent continuous cotton cultivation in the same field. Early planting of cotton allows the crop to establish itself before the peak infestation period. Additionally, the use of trap crops, such as okra, diverts pink bollworm moths away from cotton fields. Regular monitoring for signs of infestation, such as damaged bolls and larvae, is crucial for early detection. The use of pheromone traps helps track pink bollworm activity and enables farmers to optimize the timing of pesticide applications.

    Roop Singh Meena, a scientist at Agriculture Research Station, Sriganganagar, emphasizes that pink bollworm infestation demands proactive measures. He underscores the importance of implementing recommended strategies, emphasising proper crop residue management before sowing. He also highlights the impact of adverse weather conditions this year, urging farmers to proactively prepare for such contingencies throughout the crop cycle.

    “A proper understanding of spraying techniques and the timely application of recommended pesticides can significantly mitigate the impact of pink bollworm infestation. It is noteworthy that, based on a seed rate of 2.25 packets per acre, there will be approximately 8437 plants per acre, with 421 plants being non-Bt cotton, constituting 5% of the total,” said another expert.

    The findings of a recent survey conducted by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in July have raised concerns, revealing that up to 15 percent of the early-sown cotton crop, aged between 60 and 80 days, has fallen victim to pink bollworm infestation. This vulnerable stage of the crop is particularly susceptible to the devastating effects of the pest.

    In response to this alarming situation, PAU has taken proactive measures to combat the pink bollworm invasion. “However, it is imperative for cotton growers to remain vigilant and proactively employ recommended strategies to safeguard their crops. By staying informed about the latest pest management techniques and implementing effective control measures, farmers can minimize the impact of pink bollworm and protect their cotton yields,” adds Meena.

    Scientists also suggest that farmers ensure thorough coverage of all parts of the crops during spraying. Proper intervals and fixed quantities should be adhered to during pesticide application to avoid overuse or underuse, which could be detrimental to the crops. It is crucial to spray when the plants are completely dry, and farmers are cautioned against using 'ready to use' mixtures of pesticides, according to cotton experts.

    Jasveer Singh, a progressive farmer in Mansa, Punjab advises farmers to follow expert-recommended instructions for insecticide spraying to protect the crop effectively. He believes that collective efforts can safeguard cotton yields and overcome these challenges. Gurpreet Singh, another progressive farmer from North Rajasthan advises all farmers to selectively choose hybrids based on soil quality. “The importance of maintaining optimal plant heights for efficient pest control and proper row spacing to facilitate accessibility during pesticide applications must also be understood,” he added.

    Proper selection of hybrids, maintaining appropriate spacing, and using recommended fertilizers are key factors for successful cotton growth. By embracing this holistic approach, farmers can significantly reduce the impact of pink bollworm infestation, ensuring the resilience of cotton yields in North Rajasthan and Punjab.


    Source: IndiaAgri News Network



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