1. Agriculture World

Cotton Leaf Curl Disease Spreads After Whitefly Attack in Punjab, Haryana & Rajasthan

The CLCuD is anticipated because whiteflies spread the virus more widely, according to experts, when they assault the crop. Controlling such attacks is crucial right now in order to stop the disease's spread, they warned.

Shivam Dwivedi
Cotton Leaf Curl Disease
Cotton Leaf Curl Disease

According to experts from the Punjab agriculture department and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), whitefly infestations have caused the cotton leaf curl disease (CLCuD) to spread throughout the cotton belt of Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan.

The viral illness CLCuD reduces the yield of cotton plants by impairing their general growth. Infected cotton plants' leaves curl both upward and downward. Despite the fact that farmers are applying the prescribed pesticides, experts claim that they are only partially successful in containing the illness.

The CLCuD is anticipated because whiteflies spread the virus more widely, according to experts, when they assault the crop. Controlling such attacks is crucial right now in order to stop the disease's spread, they warned.

In a recent survey, teams from "Project Bandhan," which the South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC) launched to combat the pink bollworm infestation, discovered CLCuD in the Punjabi districts of Mansa, Bathinda, and Fazilka, the Haryana districts of Sirsa and Fatehabad, and the Rajasthani districts of Ganganagar and Hanumangarh.

"In each cotton field, 100 randomly chosen plants were observed by the SABC crews. It was found that the average disease incidence varied from 4 to 70% across all seven districts. According to Dr. Dilip Monga, former head of the regional research station at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Central Institute for Cotton Research (ICAR-CICR), Sirsa, Haryana, "many plants even displayed severe symptoms with upward/downward curling and stunting having higher severity grades."

The fact that CLCuD is present on such a massive scale worries cotton growers. All farmers currently have cotton crops that are older than 70 days. Cotton growers responded to the study by saying they had sprayed two or three times to get rid of the white flies. Farmers also mentioned that they had seeded CLCuD-resistant hybrids, but even after that, the viral attack is still common, according to Bhagirath Choudhary, the SABC's founder and director.

"Some farmers treat the signs of CLCuD as the symptoms of a thrips assault and spray insecticide. According to Dr. Deepak Jakhar, a senior research fellow at SABC and a field office, "many farmers are confused between signs of CLCuD and thrips attack. Strong CLCuD-resistant cotton cultivars are needed."

"Preliminary survey observations have demonstrated that the CLCuV was significantly higher during the season in the cotton-growing regions of north India. The relevant departments need to conduct thorough surveys. Additionally, regional-wide information campaigns concerning the illness and its treatment are necessary, according to Dr. Monga.

According to Dr. Gurvinder Singh, director of Punjab's agriculture department, CLCuD has been detected throughout the cotton belt, and he has been advising farmers on spray applications because preventing the spread of the disease requires that white flies be controlled. According to authorities at PAU Ludhiana, this illness has been there for a while, thus scientists need to create some CLCuD-resistant crops rather than relying solely on the commercial companies that purport to provide such seeds.

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