1. Agriculture World

Pink Bollworm Attacks Cotton Crop in Haryana, Punjab

PBW infestations were severe in Haryana and Punjab during the late-stage cropping cycle last year. According to consultants, the most recent outbreak represents a return of the previous year's infestation.

Shruti Kandwal
CICR and state governments ran warning campaigns ahead of the sowing season.
CICR and state governments ran warning campaigns ahead of the sowing season.

Infestation of the pink bollworm (PBW) is causing problems for cotton producers in Punjab and Haryana in the northern states. The PBW infestation was discovered during the early stages of the cotton crop cycle in districts such as Hisar and Sirsa in Haryana, as well as Bhatinda and Faridkot in Punjab.

Cotton sowing in these states begins in mid-April, and the infestation is evident in areas where the crop was seeded early and has reached the flowering stage. However, details on the affected area overall aren't accessible.

PBW infestations were severe in Haryana and Punjab during the late-stage cropping cycle last year. According to consultants, the most recent outbreak represents a return of the previous year's infestation. "PBW has been detected in parts of Haryana and Punjab, but it will be controlled," said Y G Prasad, Director of the ICAR's Central Institute for Cotton Analysis in Nagpur.

"PBW is a cryptic pest that is rarely detected early. Farmers, on the other hand, who become more aware, can detect the flower infestation early. In most cases, the early-stage infestation during the flowering period is not severe. Only 30-40% of the worms make it to the boll stage. Farmers do not need to be concerned. They will begin spraying as soon as they become conscious. Basic schedule pesticides, neem-based sprays, and botanicals are all recommended. Farmers are also advised to install pheromone traps and monitor moth catches as well as rosette flower damage,” according to Prasad.

Consciousness Marketing Campaign

Additionally, numerous companies, including CICR and state governments, ran warning campaigns ahead of the sowing season, which helped farmers spot the pest early, according to Prasad.

"The early infestation of deadly PBW in cotton in Punjab and Haryana is causing serious concern among farmers and the cotton financial system in northern India. PBW can show a strange sample in the irrigated, short-length, high-intensity cotton-growing North zone, which is very different from the dryland cotton-growing Central and Southern zones," said Bhagirath Choudhary, Founder Director, South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC).

"Agricultural departments, state agriculture universities, and Krishi Vigyan Kendras in northern cotton-growing states should be vigilant and thoroughly monitor its depth and spread, and issue well-timed financial threshold degree (ETL)-based recommendation to decrease pest inhabitants," Choudhary said.

Space a Tad Decrease

Cotton acreage in these two Northern States is down slightly from the previous year. Cotton acreage in Punjab is about 2.43 lakh hectares (lh) and is expected to rise to 2.48 lh, down from 2.51 lh last year and the targeted 4 lh, according to Tarun Satsangi, AGM – Analysis at Origo E-Mandi. Similarly, in Haryana, the acreage is down 3% this year, at 6.28 lh.

“The marginal decline in acreage and the outbreak of PBW in Punjab and Haryana is unlikely to have any main influence on the general cotton output as we predict the overall acreage within the nation to go up by 5 percent with an anticipated rise in acreages in main producing States of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana,” Satsangi stated.

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