Source: The Hindu Businessline

Officials blame the infestation to the Ratoon cropping method

Rahul Wadke | Mumbai |
January 13, 2020

The cotton season is almost over in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, but farmers, especially in areas such as Yavatmal, who have resorted to the Ratoon method of cropping cotton, have observed about 20 to 40 per cent pink bollworm infestation in their fields. The exact area of the infestation is being estimated by the Maharashtra Government.

In Ratoon cropping method, farmers don’t remove the plants, but continue to take a smaller crop on the same area, which adds to their income. A Ratoon crop only gives one third or one-fourth of the regular yield.

A senior government official told BusinessLine that due to the Ratoon cropping method, pink bollworms are surviving and thriving in the region. Traditionally cotton has been a six-month crop, which isplanted in May and June, and harvested by December, but due to the introduction of BT seeds, the life of a six-month crop has increased to 10 to 12 months.

It has been observed that due to the Ratoon cropping method, the dormant larvae of pink bollworm survives in the cotton seeds after harvest, and when the time is right, it again enters the fields. “Usually a cotton plants get infested by October, but Ratoon cropping has led to the plant being attacked even in July.If farmers continue to use such practices, then they will have to bid goodbye to BT cotton seeds in some years,” the official said. (Source: The Hindu Businessline)