Nagpur: The pink bollworm pest, which farmers are blaming to have led to higher usage of pesticides, made an early entry this season.
Bollworm is normally known to be a late-season pest which attacks the cotton crop by November. "However, this season it was found on the crops by July end," said farmers.
Dr VN Waghmare, the head of division of crop improvement at the Central Institute of Cotton Research, confirmed the early attack. "This was seen in areas where the crop was extended beyond December by irrigating the fields. In such cases, the eggs of the earlier bollworm attack remains in the fields. The worms hatching out of it spread further to other areas quickly," he said.
Farmers say the crop is extended because they desperately want to increase the yield due to low profits. That is the reason why another round of cotton bolls are grown after the first harvest.
"With this, a farmer can achieve around 5-6 quintals of cotton yield per acre making it enough to generate some decent returns. In the normal course, the crop should be destroyed after the first harvest. However, getting more cotton through second round only makes it feasible for the farmer here. The practice has now led to a major bollworm attack," said Vijay Ingle, a farmer from Achalpur in Amravati district.