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Cotton crop hit by severe pest attack

Cotton crop hit  by severe pest attack

ISLAMABAD: The cotton zone districts of Punjab have come under pest attack, and the agriculture department has advised growers to carry out pest scouting twice a week.

Sowing season for the cash crop during kharif has already been completed, and harvesting will begin in September to be completed in October. Punjab produces 80pc of the total crop while Sindh has the share of 20pc.

Cotton Commissioner Dr Khalid Abdullah told Dawn that the government has revised the target of production, and now it is fixed at 12.6m bales against the original target of 14m bales.

According to officials of Punjab Agriculture Department, hot spots have been discovered in 11 cotton growing districts where growers have been advised to apply a new chemistry of pesticides before the pest attack reaches the level of economic loss.

Naveed Asmat Kahloon, an official of the agriculture department Multan, told Dawn that nearly a dozen types of pests have been found attacking the cotton crop. Among these pests are whitefly, jassid, thrips, mealybug, big bowl worm, armyworm and heliothis, which are sucking insect pests of cotton.

The less affected areas are Okara, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Lieyah and Rajanpur, whereas among the hard hit areas are Rahimyar Khan, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Multan, Sahiwal and Pakpatan.

Mr Kahloon said that the attack of thrips was becoming serious since it destroys buds and flowers, resulting in the declining production.

The department has advised cotton growers to carry out power spray twice a day, preferably, and avoid repeating use of the same pesticide. During rain and strong wind, the spray should be stopped.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2017

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