By admin       2018-01-30

Nagpur: In spite of advice to raze the cotton crop by December or January end, a large section of farmers is still holding on to the pest-infested crop, hoping to salvage some gains. However, this would be counter productive, since razing the crop can terminate the pink bollworm's life cycle, ensuring a smaller attack on next year's cotton crop. Normally, farmers with irrigation extend the crop beyond March, to get nearly five rounds of cotton picking. The agriculture department is holding campaigns to ask farmers to completely destroy the crop at the earliest. This will destroy eggs of the worm remaining in the fields, terminating the pest's life cycle. But the response is not complete, say sources. From shortage of farm hands to lack of viability in early termination, farmers have a host of reasons for the delay. Some say the crop is being left for cattle to graze on since less rains have reduced fodder availability too. With the overall output being low, farmers accept, though, that not much may be left to harvest after February in any case. The agriculture department is insisting on destroying the crop at the earliest, but the farmers cannot afford it. Ideally, the crop should have been razed by December-end itself. However, it may continue till mid-February in our area," said Narendra Kakde, director in the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), in Maregaon taluka of Yavatmal district. Even in normal years, the output is not much to yield a decent profit. This season, the produce has been halved and farmers are forced to prolong the crop just for one more round of picking. Even if it's just a couple of quintals, the money earned makes a difference," said Anil Nerkar, a member of the Yavatmal zilla parishad. There is a shortage of workers too. If a farmer terminates the crop now, the cost comes to Rs1,200 to 1,400 an acre. The wages are expected to come down by next month, said Nerkar. "Fodder is scarce due to less rains, so many are allowing the cattle to graze on the cotton fields. This may continue for a couple of weeks," said Vinod Kankirad of Selodi village in Yavatmal.

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