By admin       2018-07-04

Agriculture scientists from Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan will work in tandem to combat the challenge of whitefly, cotton leaf curl virus (CLCuV) and other infestations on cotton crop in the three states this year. A panel comprising agriculture scientists from Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agriculture University, Hisar; Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana; Swami Keshwanand Rajasthan Agriculture University, Bikaner; officers from the state agriculture departments of the three states and scientists of Sirsa-based Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR), has already begun survey of the cotton fields in different groups. Cotton has been planted on 6.40 lakh hectares in Haryana, 3 lakh hectares in Punjab and 2.30 lakh hectares in Sri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts of Rajasthan which comprise the cotton belt of north India. Whitefly is a pest which damages crops by sucking sap from cotton leaves and also acts as carrier for CLCuV that destroys the crops by curling the leaves thereby hampering photosynthesis process which is necessary for growth of plants. The region had witnessed the diseases in epidemic form in 2015 when the cotton crop on entire 5.80 lakh hectares in Haryana, 4 lakh hectares in Punjab and that in Sri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts of Rajasthan was damaged. Dr Dilip Monga, head of CICR, said that the panel “Inter-State Consultation and Monitoring Committee” will meet regularly to share information about whitefly in a particular region and devise common strategy to combat the attack. The last meeting of the panel was recently held in Bathinda. He has said that the crop so far is very good in all the three states and whatever little infestation of whitefly and thrips was being witnessed during 3rd and 4th week of June has been washed away by rains now. “Climate so far has remained conducive to the crop. Atmospheric temperature remained mild till May 20 when high mercury could have burnt the saplings. Most of the sowings were over by May 20. Rains by June end and at the start of July are considered boon for cotton crop for its vegetative growth and exactly this has happened this year,” said Dr Monga. In Haryana, Sirsa, Fatehabad, Hisar, Jind and Bhiwani districts which are considered cotton belt of the state have witnessed good rains up to 60 mm in the past one week.

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