By admin       2018-07-19

The farmers in Marathwada have planted cotton on over 17 lakh hectare, notwithstanding the advice from agriculture experts who had suggested to avoid the cultivation of the ‘cash crop’, at least for a year, to break the life cycle of pink boll worm (PBW).The PBW had damaged the cotton crop in Marathwada last year, to the extent that the state government intervened by doling out compensation to affected farmers.To protect the cotton plant from getting infested with the pest, the state agriculture department has now advised farmers to use pheromone traps to curb the possible menace of the monophagous pest which multiplies only on the cotton crop.In an advisory issued to farmers, the state agricultural department has asked farmers to install pheromone traps within 45 days of sowing. If the trap catches minimum eight to 10 male PBW per day for three consecutive days, the use of pesticide is highly recommended. “The traps must be placed at the height of one feet above the cotton plant,” the advisory reads.The pheromone traps are available for sale at authorised sellers of Maharashtra Agro Industries Development Corporation Limited. As per the advisory, at least two traps must be placed on per one acre of cotton farm. The authorities have reiterated the need for the installation of traps at cotton ginning and pressing mills also. “The agricultural universities in the state are slated to carry out survey of PBW with help of pheromone traps installed at farmers and mills,” it was said.Notably, around 41 cotton ginning and pressing mills in Aurangabad district were told by the Agriculture department in January to contain the spread PBW by installing traps and taking other measures. Authorities had also undertaken a sensitisation programme for the owners of ginning mills so as to rope them to end the life cycle of the PBW.Deepak Lande, a farmer from Beed district, who has sowed cotton in his farm, said, “Farmers get relatively better return for cotton yield as compared to other kharif crops. It is a cash-crop and therefore we cannot afford to avoid the practice of its cultivation. “The government should ensure pheromone traps are available easily and at reasonable price,” he said.PBW infestation starts at bud development stage because of which the flowers do not open and often exhibit rosette shape flower. The larvae bore into bolls, feeds on inner content and developing seeds and subsequently affecting the cotton yield.

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