Cotton crop hit by severe pest attack in South Punjab

Official says measures needed to save crop from considerable loss


Our Correspondent September 26, 2017
Women cotton pickers unload cotton blooms plucked from plants to make a bundle. PHOTO: REUTERS

MULTAN: The Cotton crop has entered a critical stage in South Punjab as a number of sucking and chewing pests have attacked the crop.

In most of the fields, whitefly and pink bollworm have damaged the crops inflicting losses of millions of rupees. These pests should be controlled as early as possible so that cotton crop can be saved from a considerable loss in final yield.

Experts warn farmers of pest attacks on cotton crops

This was said by Agricultural Information Assistant Director Naveed Asmat Kahloon in Multan on Monday. He was speaking to representatives of electronic and print media in his office.

He said that the teams of agriculture departments conducted pest scouting in the fields on daily basis. The hot spots of pests, especially whitefly, thrips and pink bollworm were being observed in the fields.

He added that symptom of pink bollworm attack was appearance of rosette flowers. “The rosette flowers must be plucked and destroyed as early as possible,” he pointed out.

Earlier, an agriculture official said attack by pink bollworm usually intensifies in September and October and farmers should install pheromone traps to check it.

He warned farmers against the practice of applying pesticides before the pest attack as a precautionary measure. “It is a wrong practice. The agriculture department would never recommend application of pesticides before the pest attack,” the official maintained.

He pointed out that if farmers apply pesticides against pink bollworm before its attack, it would promote white fly infestation and create resistance in other pests against the pesticides.

Drought-tolerant cotton crop best for high yield

The official advised farmers to apply pesticides against pink bollworm after pest scouting by some experts. “In case it is found to have reached ETL then farmers should apply pesticides after consulting agriculture officials,” he said.

To counter the problem, the Punjab Agriculture Research Board (Parb) and the Department of Entomology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) inked an agreement for kicking off projects worth Rs75 million to manage the threat posed by whitefly and pink bollworm that inflict a loss of billions to the national economy.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2017.

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