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Cotton Season: Right Time to Take Care of the Menace of Whitefly

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

About 80 percent of the total irrigated area under cotton is in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Moist weather and heavy rainfall at the time of boll-opening and picking are detrimental to cotton as the plant becomes vulnerable to pests and diseases. High amount of rainfall in beginning and sunny and dry weather at ripening time are very useful for a good crop.

Cotton is a Kharif crop which requires 6 to 8 months to mature. Its time of sowing and harvesting differs in different parts of the country depending upon the climatic conditions. In Punjab and Haryana it is sown in April-May and is harvested in December-January that is before the winter frost can damage the crop.

In the peninsular part of India, it is sown up to October and harvested between January and May because there is no danger of winter frost in these areas. In Tamil Nadu, it is grown both as a Kharifand as a Rabi crop.

Here the rainfall occurs after September and cotton is sown in October. The irrigated crop is sown in January-February. Most of the crop is grown mixed with other Kharif crops such as maize, jowar, ragi, sesamum, castor, groundnut and some vegetables.

Cotton cultivation is closely related to deep black soils (regur) of the Deccan and the Malwa Plateaus and those of Gujarat. It also grows well in alluvial soils of the Satluj-Ganga Plain and red and laterite soils of the peninsular regions. Cotton quickly exhausts the fertility of soil. Therefore, regular application of manures and fertilizers to the soils is very necessary.

The state agricultural department has started its drive to control the whitefly pest that inflicted extensive damage to the cotton crop last season.

While farmers had blamed spurious pesticides for the whitefly attack, Agriculture Minister Tota Singh and Punjab Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor BS Dhillon blamed the farmers for not being aware of the methods to be followed to save their crops. ADOs are field officers who are responsible for interacting with farmers at the ground level and pass on their queries to higher authorities.

They educate them about the right agricultural practices, provide them with samples of pesticides and fertilizers for testing, visit villages to keep an eye on the crop and press the alert button if symptoms of a disease are found.

Cotton Association of India (CAI) has released its May estimate of the cotton crop for the season 2017-18 beginning from 1st October 2017. The CAI has estimated cotton crop for the ongoing 2017-18 season at 365 lakh bales of 170 kgs. each, which is higher by 5 lakh bales from its previous estimate – 3 lakh bales in Gujarat, 1 Lakh bales in Karnataka, 50,000 bales in Andhra Pradesh & 25,000 bales each in the states of Madhya Pradesh & Tamil Nadu.   This estimated increase in production figures is mainly due to the realization of higher yields more particularly in the State of Gujarat. Statements containing the state-wise estimate of the cotton crop and the Balance Sheet for the crop year 2017-18 with the corresponding data for the previous year are enclosed.

The Statistic Committee of the CAI, in its meeting held yesterday which was also attended by over 30 representative from various upcountry associations, MNCs, Ginners, Exporters, Importers, textile mills, etc, has reviewed the current cotton scenario. The total cotton supply upto 31st May, 2018 has been projected at  378.50 lakh bales which consists of the opening stock of 30 lakh bales at the beginning of the season on 1st October, 2017, the arrival of 340 lakh bales upto 31st May, 2018 and imports which the Committee has estimated at 8.50 lakh bales upto May end. Further, the Committee has estimated cotton consumption for 8 months i.e. from October, 2017 to May, 2018 at 216 lakh bales at an average of 27 Lakh bales per month while the export shipment till 31st May 2018 has been estimated at 62 lakh bales. The stock at the end of May, 2018 is estimated at 100.50 lakh bales including 58 lakh bales with textile mills while the remaining 42.50 lakh bales are estimated to be held with CCI & others (MNCs, Traders, Ginners, etc). 

The projected yearly Balance Sheet for the Season 2017-18 drawn by the CAI has estimated total cotton supply till end of the season i.e. upto 30th September 2018 at 410 lakh bales of 170 kgs. each including the opening stock of 30 lakh bales at the beginning of the season. The CAI has estimated domestic consumption for the season at 324 lakh bales while the exports for the season are estimated by the CAI at 70 lakh bales. The carry-over stock at the end of the 2017-18 crop year is estimated at 16 lakh bales.

It may be noted that the crop size of 365 lakh bales of 170 kgs. each is equal to 388 lakh running bales of 160 kgs. each and the estimated arrival of 340 lakh bales 170 kgs. each upto 31st May, 2018 is equal to 362 lakh running bales of 160 kgs. each. Around 93 percent  of the total crop for the season has already arrived in the market upto 31st May, 2018.

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