By admin       2016-09-27

High-yield cotton crop, the result of a two-year experiment involving Punjab Agricultural University (Ludhiana), Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, Punjab Mandi Board and private companies, has come as a ray of hope amid the depleting area under cotton cultivation in the state.Official data of the Agriculture Ministry showed that the area under cotton crop this year was only 2.56 lakh hectares, which was the lowest since 1955-56. Expectedly, the cotton crop reduced to only 9 lakh bales against 12 lakh bales last year.Kahan Singh Pannu, Managing Director, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, said: “The experiment on cotton crop was carried out in Fazilka, Muktsar and Bathinda districts spread over 1,400 acres. PAU research had shown that cotton balls matured uniformly using 773 variety seeds”.“The cultivation allowed planting 25,000 plants in one acre against the routine average of 6,000. The vegetative growth of the plant is controlled at four-and-a-half feet. Under the programme, all cultivation operations from sowing till picking and cleaning have been mechanised. The picking of cotton is done only in one go after the shedding of plant leaves with defoliant spray with a specialised cotton picking machine,” he said.However, the productivity of cotton under the new system increases by 25 per cent which offsets additional cost of cultivation of the crop.Sukhdev Singh Brar, a farmer from Fazilka, said, “The government will have to work on the aspect of financing seeds. In routine, a farmer uses two packets of seeds for an acre. Here a farmer uses seven packets. This time the government gave a concession of Rs 3,000 per acre on 773 variety which was used by farmers. This took care of costs slightly. However, when the concession is withdrawn, farmers will find the exercise expensive. Also, there are hardly any machines available for plucking this year”.

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