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Pink boll-worm attack rings alarm bells

Destroy crop after third picking’
With the incidence of pink boll-worm attack in cotton crop reaching the economic threshold level (ETL) mostly in the erstwhile Adilabad and Warangal districts this year, the Agriculture Department has asked the district collectors and district agriculture officers to convince the farmers to destroy the crop after the third picking. According to officials, although the pink boll- worm attack has been reported at ETL in the two erstwhile districts, its incidence has been noticed to be “sporadic” in other districts too. Cotton has been cultivated in 19.09 lakh hectares, which stood at about 49% of the total sown area of 39.01 lakh ha in the kharif season, with farmers who took to redgram, maize, and other crops in a big way last year returning to the fibre crop.
After noticing the large-scale damage caused by pink boll-worm pest attack on cotton in Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and a few other States affecting both the production and productivity, the State government has decided to take steps to contain its impact this year and also to prevent or minimise its incidence in the next kharif season (2018-19).
Widespread campaign
In a letter addressed to district collectors and district agriculture officers earlier this month, Agriculture Production Commissioner C. Parthasarathi suggested them to take up a large-scale campaign to sensitise the farmers on the pest attack so as to control its spread this season as well as in the next kharif season. “We have suggested to the district officers to convince the farmers to terminate the standing cotton crop after the third picking, which is taken up around the third week of December, and completely destroy the crop by the end of December as extended life of the crop will not only continue the damage this season but also acts as a platform for its spread in the next season,” Mr. Parthasarathi explained. However, the farmers are required to be educated that maximum yields of cotton are realised in the first three pickings itself and that they won’t get any considerable yield from the fourth picking onwards, officials of the Agriculture Department said.