Bhatinda : While the Pink Bollworm (PBW) has destroyed about 70 percent of Bathinda’s cotton crop, distributing 96,000 hectares (2.37 lakh hectares), Punjab Agriculture University’s (PAU) exhibitions covering 5 hectares each in the same region they are in excellent condition and almost undamaged by insects. The reason for this is the use
of paste, which disrupts the mating process of these insects by releasing pheromones to form. This process is also called ‘mating intervention.’ Scientists at PAU Ludhiana’s Regional Research Station in Bathinda say that if the application was approved on a large scale, significant damage to the cotton plant in the region could be prevented.
Punjab Agriculture Minister Randeep Singh Nabha has already announced that the method will be used next cotton season, starting in April next year.
Dr Vijay Kumar, a senior pest specialist, PAU, and cotton specialist, said they had been trying the procedure for the past two years in Punjab and the results were positive.
How the paste is applied to the stems of the cotton plant near its shoots at an angle. This attachment removes artificial pheromones that attract male insects. It prevents them from acquiring females due to synthetic pheromones extracted from various plants in the garden, thus avoiding the mating process and, consequently, checking the number of insects.
There are about 7,000 cotton plants in one-hectare field and this attachment needs to be applied only to 350-400 plants randomly, covering all corners and sides of the field. Experts say it will take the farmer 10-15 minutes to cover the field because it is like rubbing dough in a crowd.
The main points that need to be taken into account in this application are the timely use of adhesive tape and the coverage of the cotton surface so that there are no large gaps.
According to PAU scientists, this adhesive is necessary which can be done in two ways. In the first method, the dough should be placed in a 50-day-old plant, and the second should be placed in an 80-day-old plant. Therefore, the final request was made on the 110th day.
In the second method, the first application can be made on a 60-day plant, the second on a 90-day plant and the third on a 120-day plant.
The agriculture minister said the technology was considered “the gold standard in crop protection” and was well-known in western countries. A few experiments in this technology with state agricultural universities and farmers over the past four years have shown significant results in many Indian provinces. PAU also uses this method and does not require spraying and no spray. He added that the product has no adverse effects on the environment, plants, farmers, and the world.
Nabha said the department proposed implementing more than 2 hectares of land under the scheme next season.
Experts say it is essential for farmers to be aware of this because the method will not be as expensive as the other costly and harmful chemical sprays.