By admin       2017-12-20

Cotton prices finally crossed the magic figure of Rs5000 a quintal mark rising to Rs 5100 before settling at Rs4975 on Tuesday. The rates are enough to leave a bit of surplus for farmers, but not much cotton is left with the farmers to be sold. Even the officials in state's agriculture department agree that cotton growers have not been able to go for more than 2-3 rounds of picking due to the pink bollworm attack. Amid pressure from opposition, state government has been maintaining that the arrivals are higher than last year. This indicates that impact of bollworm is not much. But if the picking is limited to 2-3 rounds on an average, the final output is expected to be lower. Cotton bolls grow after each round of picking and can be harvested again. The pest has eaten away fresh bolls in the initial stages itself, farmers said. With this, the harvest would end this month itself, said sources. In normal course, a dry land farmer goes for 4 to 5 rounds of picking up to December and beyond. Those with irrigation facilities like borewells can stretch to 6-7 pickings that extend till April. Harvest will not go beyond December this year, farmers said. There are no more cotton bolls left on the plants. The state government has also issued advisories to farmers not to extend the crop beyond December so the life cycle of bollworm was cut short. With the bolls gone, even farmer see no sense in continuing with the crop. The official figures of the cotton yield would only be released in the next fortnight by the agriculture department. Trends coming from various pockets show a decline in production. Officials of the department said on a conservative basis, 60% of the farmers may have been affected by the bollworm attack and not able go for further pickings. A source in the Yavatmal districts said in his block, the yield had come down to five quintals a hectare as against 6 to 8 in the normal course. The estimates are made after harvesting sample farms maintained by the department for observation. Other officials, however, said it may be too early to judge the trend. A source in Amravati said there were some farmers for whom late sowing due to delayed rains was a blessing in disguise. Their crop missed the timing when bollworm strikes. Still a majority of farmers are expected to be affected due to pink bollworm infestation. The rates touched Rs5100 a quintal but the harvest in our area ended with two pickings," said Chintaman Bhoyar from Yavatmal. Nitin Khadse, also from Yavatmal, said he could not go for more than a single round of picking. "Price of Rs5,000 a quintal is available only if the farmer takes the crop to the ginning mill. Otherwise, the net gain after transportation cost comes to Rs4800 a quintal. The nearest mill from our village is 80 kms away," said Vinod Kankirad from Selodi village in Yavatmal.

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