Agri university's new strategy to check mealy bug in cotton

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Ludhiana, May 11 (UNI) The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has a evolved a new strategy to combat mealy bug on the cotton crop and a planned campaign will be launched during the ensuing cotton crop season in the state to check this menace.

The strategy has been evolved following intensify research on mealy bug by PAU. The research project has been funded by the Sir Rattan Tata as mealy bug has emerged as a serious pest on cotton in recent years.

During 2006, the crop was damaged in some pockets in Punjab. The pest spread to new areas in 2007 causing damage to cotton in Bathinda, Muktsar and Ferozepur districts. With the introduction of Bt cotton, the productivity of cotton touched 728 kg per hectare in 2006-07 but declined to 630 kg/ha in 2007-08 due to various factors, mealy bug being the major one.

According to Dr P S Minhas, PAU Director of Research, the university has already proposed a management strategy of mealy bug on cotton and the campaign to check the bug will be further intensified during the ensuing crop season.

According to Dr N S Malhi, Director Extension Education, the strategy evolved by PAU will be adopted in selected villages. As the main source of carryover of pest is the weeds and the cotton stacks, emphasis would be given to prevent the spread of the pest from these sources to the newly planted cotton, he said.

PAU has already selected 12 villages of Bathinda, Muktsar and Ferozepur districts with the active involvement of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK). The movement of mealy bugs will be monitored in these villages and farmers will be provided relevant information by Integarted Pest Management (IPM) knowledge centers set up in these villages.

PAU along with other agencies will organise special campaigns for removal of weeds and dissemination of technology at the farmers' door steps.

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