30 August, Chandigarh: With a view to protect cotton crop from whitefly attack during Kharif 2020, the Haryana Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department has advised farmers in the State to take precautionary measures, including using botanical remedies such as neem oil solution and monitoring the occurrence of the pests.
Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister, Mr. J. P. Dalal, said that officials of the Department were monitoring the incidence of whitefly in districts Sirsa, Hisar, Fatehabad, Jind and Bhiwani, which constitute 80 per cent of area under cotton in the State.
Scientists from CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar (CCSHAU) have also visited fields in different districts to take stock of the situation and suggest measures.
He said that while occurrence of whitefly in districts Sirsa, Fatehabad and Jind were found to be below the Economic Threshold Level (ETL), a small patch in a few villages in district Hisar was found to be above ETL. In district Bhiwani, the infestation level of whitefly is about 50 per cent.
Advisory by CCSHAU, Central Institute for Cotton Research, Sirsa (CICR) and Bayer Crop Science
In order to prevent further infestation, the Department has issued an advisory comprising measures suggested by CCSHAU, Central Institute for Cotton Research, Sirsa (CICR) and Bayer Crop Science, which include installation of 40 to 50 low-cost yellow sticky traps per acre.
The advisory also states that up to 70 days after sowing, farmers may apply two sprays of an emulsion comprising one per cent neem oil and 0.05 to 0.10 per cent laundry detergent, or Nimbecidine (0.03 per cent or 300 ppm). This emulsion should be applied at the rate of one litre per acre. This application should be followed by two sprays of an emulsion comprising two per cent castor oil and 0.05 to 0.10 per cent laundry detergent. Farmers should continue to apply neem-based insecticides throughout the season as and when required, he added.
Farmers could also use insect growth regulators, including difenthiauron at the rate of 200 grams per acre or Flonicamid 50WG at the rate of 80 grams per acre or Dinotefuran 20% SG at the rate of 60 grams per acre or Clothianidin 50WG at the rate of 20 grams per acre, dissolved in 200 litres of water, particularly after mid-August.
These insecticides are effective against whiteflies and are relatively safer for the natural enemies of the pests. To manage the second flush of whitefly during the later part of the season after September 15, restricted use of Ethion at the rate of 800 ml per acre is also advisable.
In case the whitefly population crosses ETL in August-September, alternate spray of 300 ml of dimethoate 30% EC or oxydemeton methyl 25% EC and neem based insecticide (Nimbecidine or Achook) the rate of one litre with 250 litres of water per acre may be applied. Alternatively, need-based spray of spiromesifen (Oberon) 22.9% SC at the rate of 240 ml or pyriproxifen (Daita) 10% EC at the rate of 400 ml with 200 litres to 250 litres of water per acre could also be used to manage nymphal population of whitefly. The same insecticide should not be sprayed continuously.
The advisory also states that if sooty mould appears under the leaves due to higher population of eggs and nymphs, farmers should apply spiromesifen at the rate of 250ml per acre, or pyriproxifen at the rate of 400 ml to 500 ml per acre) or buprofezin 25SC at the rate of 400 ml per acre, in 200 litres of water.
If the mixed infestation of whitefly and thrips is observed, farmers should apply diafenthiuron at the rate of 200 grams per acre and avoid mixing of insecticides. If the mixed infestation of whitefly and leafhopper is observed, they should apply flonicamid 50WG at the rate of 80 grams per acre or dinotefuran 20% SG at the rate of 60 grams per acre in 200 litres of water, and avoid mixing of insecticides.
Cotton in 7.36 lakh hectare
Cotton is being cultivated in about 7.36 lakh hectares in 14 districts across the State during Kharif-2020. Districts Sirsa, Hisar, Fatehabad, Jind and Bhiwani are leading in cotton cultivation this season with 2.10 lakh hectares, 1.47 lakh hectares, 0.72 lakh hectares, 0.70 lakh hectares and 0.88 lakh hectares, respectively, under the cash crop. More than 95 per cent of the area is under Bt. cotton.
The whitefly acts as a vector in the spread of leaf curl virus disease, and is a migratory insect, making its control very difficult. Excessive attack of this insect turns the green cotton leaves black, thus hampering the photosynthesis process and significantly reducing the yield and quality of the produce.