By admin       2017-10-25

WARANGAL: The vagaries of weather and attack by pests dashed all hopes of cotton farmers in Warangal district for a good yield this year. Also, farmers are blaming BT variety of cotton for the declining quality of soil every year. BT cotton accounted for around 95 pc of the area sown in the district and also the state. While there was a dry spell during the monsoon, there was unusually heavy rainfall during August and September. Farmers were hoping for a bumper crop this year and had sown seeds in 20% more area this year. The crop was sown in 80,000 hectares in Warangal rural and 30,000 hectares in Warangal urban. The agriculture department officials are also disappointed with the low yield and are expecting the total production of cotton to decline by 20 per cent. The officials had set a target of 2 lakh MT bales for Warangal rural district and 1 lakh MT bales for urban, but going by the yield per acre, it looks it would be difficult to achieve the target. Joint Director of Agriculture, Usha Dayal, said, “This time, sowing was completed by June and we were expecting a bumper crop, but the heavy rain and long dry spell during monsoon caused huge damage to the crop,” she said. She added that Pink bollworm and Spodoptera pest attack were also noticed in a few places in the district which damaged the crop extensively. Agriculture officials said that Pink bollworm had developed resistance to Bollgard-II Bt cotton. “The yield of the crop depends on the environment in which it is grown and the management practices of the cropping system, but unfortunately most of the farmers do not follow them and continue to use the same land for sowing cotton for years, leading to decline in yield per acre”, Usha Dayal said.”Black soil is most suitable for cotton, but our farmers expect the same output from red soil which is not suitable for cotton. They don’t do much to improve the health of the soil and blame the weather and the seed for everything,” she added. She said farmers need to adopt crop rotation system to improve health of soil, but the directions, magnitudes, and mechanisms of the yield effects of various crop rotations remain poorly understood by farmers. Farmers, however, are blaming Bt cotton seed for their soil becoming weak. They claim that their yield was coming down every passing year as they were using Bt cotton. “When I started using Bt cotton 12 years back, I used to get 20 quintal per acre. But now it has come down to 11 quintal. This time I got just 5 quintal per acre. I have eight acres out which I have started using three acres for horticulture as the Bt cotton is making my soil unhealthy,” said a farmer from Chennaraopet mandal of Warangal rural district, R Devender.At a time when cotton farmers in rest of the state are struggling to get MSP, officials are claiming that farmers of Warangal and Adilabad were getting more than MSP for A-grade cotton.

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