Cotton Cultivation Practices


Irrigated (Main)
Winter Irrigated (Aug – Sep)
Coimbatore, Erode, Madurai, Dindigul, TheniMCU 5, MCU 5 VT, Suvin, TCHB 213*, MCU 12,
MCU 13, Surabhi
DharmapuriMCU 5, TCHB 213*, MCU 12, MCU 13, Surabhi
Salem, NamakkalMCU 5, Suvin, TCHB 213*, MCU 12, MCU 13, Surabhi
Cuddalore, VillupuramLRA 5166, SVPR 2, SVPR 4, Surabhi,
Summer – Irrigated (Feb – Mar)
ErodeMCU 5, MCU 5 VT, MCU 12, MCU 13, Surabhi
Madurai, Dindigul, TheniMCU 5, MCU 5 VT, SVPR 2, SVPR 4, Surabhi
Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Sivagangai,MCU 5, MCU 5 VT, SVPR 2, SVPR 4, Surabhi
Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi
Rainfed (Sep – Oct)
Madurai, Dindigul, TheniLRA 5166, K11, KC 2, SVPR 2,KC 3
Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, SivagangaiLRA 5166, K 11, KC 2, SVPR 2,KC 3
Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, DharmapuriLRA 5166, K 11, KC 2, SVPR 2,KC 3
Rice Fallow
Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Parts of Trichirapalli, Perambalur, Karur, Cuddalore and VillupuramMCU 7, SVPR 3, Anjali

*  Hybrid


Varieties/ Hybrids
ParentageSeasonIrrigated/ RainfedMean yield of seed (kg/ha)Special features
MCU 5Multiple crossAug-Oct
Irrigated1850Extra long staple 
(29 mm MHL), 
Can spun upto 70s, ginning 34%
MCU 7X ray irradiation of X L 1143 EEJan-Feb Rice fallows1330Medium staple 
(23.7 mm MHL), Can spun upto 30s, early maturing with 33.2% ginning outturn. Tolerant to Black arm
MCU 12Derivative from the cross LRA 5166 x MCU 11Aug-OctIrrigated2000Shorter in duration than MCU 5, GOT 34.8%
Can spun upto 50s
MCU 13It is a multiple cross derivative involving the parents of [(TCH 665 x LS 149) x (TCH 665 x TCH 21)] x (TCH 21 x EECH) x (TCH 92-7 x EECH)Aug- Oct Jan-FebIrrigated2200Early duration
Can spun upto 50s
LRA 5166Laxmi x Reba B.50 x AC 122Aug-Oct Jan –FebIrrigated Rainfed1800
Medium staple 
(29 mm), Can spun upto 40s, ginning 36.2%
MCU 5 VTReselection from MCU 5Aug-Oct   Jan –FebIrrigated2000Extra long staple, Verticillium wilt tolerant
SupriyaMCU 5 x C 1998Aug-Oct  Jan-FebIrrigated2000White fly tolerant
AnjaliLRA 5166 x (Khandwa 2 x Reba B 50) BC 2Jan –FebIrrigated 
(Rice fallows)
1800Dwarf, semi compact plant type
SurabhiMCU 5 VT
(MCU 5 x G.mexicanum)
Aug-Oct Irrigated2200Exta long staple, Verticillium wilt resistant
SumangalaCW 134 x Reba B 50 x Khandwa 2Sept-Oct Jan –FebIrrigated 
Suitable for rainfed tract
Sruthi70 E x RSP 4Sept-Oct Jan –FebIrrigated2500Early duration
K 11(0794-1-DX H 876) x (0794-1-DX H 450) Multiple Hybrid derivativeSept – OctRainfed1100Better fibre properties with lesser pest incidence than K10
SuvinHybrid derivative from the cross Sujatha x St. VincentAug-OctIrrigated1020Extra long staple cotton with 28% ginning outturn and 32 mm MHL, spins 100s

Varieties/ HybridsParentageSeasonIrrigated/RainfedMean yield of Seed (kg/ha)Special features
TCHB 213Interspecific Hybrid of TCH 1218 (G.hirsutum) 
and TCB 209 (G.barbadense)
Aug-SepIrrigated2215High yielding, early maturing, Tolerant to leaf spot diseases
SVPR 2TSDT 22 x JR 36Feb - Mar 
2000High ginning out turn of 36.4%, medium staple (24.3 mm), can spin 30's, suited to summer irrigated, winter rainfed and tankfed rice fallow tracts of Tamil Nadu.
SVPR 3Selection from L.H 900 x 1301 D.DJan-FebRice fallows1800Suitable for rice fallow tract.
early duration (135-140 days). Tolerant to drought,
leafhopper, alternaria spot,  black arm disease.
KC 2MCU 10 x KC 1Sep - OctRainfed1000High ginning out turn of 37.5%, medium staple cotton - 24.4 mm, Suited for rainfed black cotton soil of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Virudhunagar Districts.
KC 3Hybrid derivative 
of TKH 97x KC1
Sep- OctRainfed1080Resistant to leaf 
hoppermedium staple 
cotton – 26.4 mim, suited 
to southern districts of 
Tuticorin, Tirunelveli and 
Virudhu Nager district.
SVPR 4Hybrid derivative of MCU 5x S4727Feb-Mar Sep- OctIrrigated Rainfed1800Superior medium staple 
cotton with good fibre 
strength. suitable for spinning 40’s yarn.





Prepare the field to get a fine tilth.


Chiselling for soils with hard pan: Chisel the soils having hard pan formation at shallow depths with chisel plough at 0.5 M interval, first in one direction and then in the direction perpendicular to the previous one, once in three years. Apply 12.5 t farm yard manure or composted coir pith/ha besides chiselling to get increased yield


If intercropping of Greengram/Soybean is proposed, prepare the main field, so as to provide ridges and furrows to take up sowing 20 days prior to cotton sowing.


  • Spread 12.5 t of FYM or compost or 2.5 t of vermicompost per ha if available, uniformly on the unploughed soil.
  • Azophos 2kg/ha or Azospirillum + Phosphorus Solubilising Bacteria + Pink Pigmented Facultative Methylotropics @ 2.2 kg/ha each apply as basal application.


Seed treatment with 3 packets of Azospirillum (600 g/ha) and 3 packets (600 g/ha) of Phosphobacteria or 6 packets of Azophos(1200 g/ha).  In addition apply 10 packets of Azospirillum (2000 g/ha) and 10 packets (2000 g/ha) of Phosphobacteria or 20 packets of Azophos (4000 g/ha) mixed with 25 kg FYM and 25 kg of soil on the seed line. This saves 25% nitrogen besides increasing yield. 


  • Form ridges and furrows 10 m long with appropriate spacing depending upon the variety.
  • Use ridge plough or bund former to form ridges so as to economise on cost of cultivation.
  • In fields with ragi stubbles, just dibble cotton seeds at the specified spacings.
  • Adopt the following spacing between ridges for different varieties/hybrids.

Form ridges and furrows 10 m long with appropriate spacing

Spacing between ridges (cm) 

MCU 5, SVPR 2, LRA 5166, MCU 12, MCU 13   
TCHB 213   
MCU 7    
NOTE: Adopt higher spacing rows in fertile soils by 15 to 30 cm.

Cotton cultivation in ridges and furrows


  • Apply NPK fertilizers as per soil test recommendations.
  • If soil test recommendations are not available, follow the blanket recommendation for the different varieties.
Varieties / Hybrids Quantity of fertilizers (Kg/ha)
MCU 7, SVPR 3603030
MCU 5, MCU 5 VT, MCU 12, MCU 13,Suvin, SVPR 2804040
TCHB 213,1206060
  • If basal application could not be done, apply on the 25th day after sowing.
  • Apply 50 per cent of N and K full dose of P2O5 as basal and remaining ½ N and K at 40 – 45 DAS for varieties.  For hybrids apply N in three splits viz., basal, 45 and 65 DAS.
  • Foliar application of 2% DAP + 1% KCl or polyfeed and Multi k may be sprayed to improve kapas yield.
  • Apply the fertilizers in a band, two-thirds of the distance from the top of the ridge, and incorporate. 


Mix 12.5 kg of micronutrient mixture formulated by the Department of Agriculture, Tamil Nadu with enough sand to make a total quantity of 50 kg for one ha.


  1. In the case of Zinc deficient soils ZnSO4 @ 50 kg/ha as basal or ZnSO4 0.5% spray thrice at 45, 60 and 75 DAS.
  2. When reddening occurs in leaves apply 5% MgSO4 Urea (1.0%) and ZnSO4 (0.10%) as foliar spray on 50th and 80th day to correct this malady.   In Mg deficient areas apply MgSo4 @ 20 kg/ha basally.
  3. Need based foliar spray of 2% MgSo4 + 1% Urea during boll formation stage.


            Adopt the following seed rates for different varieties/hybrids

Varieties / HybridsQuantity of seed (Kg/ha)
With fuzzDelintedNaked
MCU 5, MCU 5 VT, MCU 7, MCU 12, MCU 1315.007.50..
SVPR 215.00....
KC 220.0015.00..
TCHB 2132.52.0..

In a pure crop of cotton, adopt the spacing as below for the different varieties.

Varieties / hybridsSpacing ( cm)
Between rowsBetween plants
MCU 5, MCU 5 VT, MCU 12, MCU 13 LRA 5166, SVPR 27530
KC 24515
TCHB 21312060
MCU 7, SVPR 360 or 75 *30

                       * Fertile soils

    1. If cotton intercropped with other crops, one paired row of cotton is alternated with three rows of intercrop and the total population of cotton crop is maintained at the same level as in the case of pure crop.
    2. For intercropping with Greengram / Soybean, complete the sowing and irrigation 20 days prior to cotton sowing on one side of the ridge.


Varieties/hybridSpacing for cotton crop ( cm)
Paired row
Between Paired rowsBetween plants

MCU 5,  MCU 5 VT, MCU 12,MCU13








 TCHB 213




            Plant two rows of intercrop between each paired row of cotton

IntercropSeed rate(kg/ha)Spacing (cm)

For higher returns, advance sowing of either greengram or soyabean 20 days before sowing of cotton in winter season. 

Cotton intercropped with soybean

Cotton + Blackgram intercropping

Cotton + greengram intercropping 


  • NOTE: Acid delinting has the following advantages:Choose plastic bucket bucket for acid delinting of seeds.
  • Do not use earthen wares, metal vessels, porcelain wares or wooden drum for acid delinting as concentrated sulphuric acid will corrode them.
  • Put the required quantity of seeds in the container and add commercial concentrated sulphuric acid at the rate of 100 ml per kg of fuzzy seed.
  • Stir vigorously and continuously with a wooden stick for 2 to 3 minutes till the fuzz sticking to the seeds is completely digested and the seed coat attains a dark brown colour of coffee powder.
  • Add water to fill the container. Drain the acid water and repeat the washing 4 or 5 times to remove any trace of acid.
  • Remove the floating, ill-filled and damaged seeds while retaining the healthy and good seeds which remain at the bottom.
  • Drain the water completely and dry the delinted seeds in shade.
  1. Eliminates some externally seed borne pathogenic organisms.
  2. Kills eggs, larvae and pupae of pink boll worm.
  3. Helps to remove immature, ill-filled, cut and damaged seeds.
  4. Makes seed dressing more effective and easy
  5. Facilitates easy sowing and good germination.


  • Treat the delinted seeds with talc formulation of Trichoderma viride @ 4g/kg of seed or with Carbendazim (or) Thiram @ 2g/kg of seed. Biocontrol agents are compatible with biofertilizers. First treat the seeds with biocontrol agents and then with biofertilizers. Fungicides and biocontrol agents are incompatible.
  • Treat the delinted fungicide treated seeds with 3 packets (600 g) of Azospirillum and 3 packets of phosphobacteria 600g (or) 6 packets of Azophos (1200 g) and sow immediately.


Soak the seeds in equal volume of Pungam leaf extract (1%) for 8 hours and dry back to original moisture to increase germination and vigour. Dry the seeds in shade.

Seed pelleting: Seeds coated with arappu leaf powder (100 g/kg) along with DAP (40 g/kg), micronutrient mixture (15 g/kg) and Azospirillum (200 g/kg) phosphobacteria (200 g/ha) or Azophos (400 g/ha) using 5% maida solution or gruel as adhesive 
(300 ml/kg) to increase the germination and vigour.


  • Dibble the seeds at a depth of 3-5 cm on the side of the ridge 2/3 height from the top and above the band where fertilisers and insecticides are applied, maintaining the correct spacing and then cover seeds with soil. In the case of intercropping, sow the seeds of the intercrop in between the paired rows of cotton in a row of 5 cm apart and cover the seeds.
  • Sow the required number of seeds in each hole.

Varieties / hybrids No. of seeds / hole
Fuzzy seedsDelinted seeds
Hybrids 2 1
Varieties 3 2

Dibble the seeds at a depth of 3-5 cm

Seedling emergence under flood irrigation system



  • Apply Pendimethalin @ 3.3 l/ha  three days after sowing, using a hand operated sprayer fitted with deflecting or fan type nozzle. Sufficient moisture should be present in the soil at the time of herbicide application.  This will ensure weed free condition upto 40 days.
  • One hand weeding on 45 DAS will keep weed free environment upto 60 DAS.
  • Hoe and hand weed between 18th to 20th day of sowing, if herbicide is not applied at the time of sowing.

One hand weeding on 45 DAS will keep weed free environment upto 60 DAS


a. Take up gap filling on the 10th day of sowing.

  • In the case of TCHB 213, raise seedlings in polythene bags of size 15  x 10 cm. 
  • Fill the polythene bags with a mixture of FYM and soil in the ratio of 1:3. 
  • Dibble one seed per bag on the same day when sowing is taken up in the field. 
  • Pot water and maintain. 
  • On the 10th day of sowing, plant seedlings maintained in the polythene bags, one in each of the gaps in the field by cutting open the polythene bag and planting the seedling along with the soil intact and then pot water.

b. In the case of all other varieties, dibble 3 to 4 seeds in each gap and pot water.


Thin out the seedlings on the 15th day of sowing. In the case of fertile soils, allow only one seedling per hole, whereas in poor soil allow two seedlings per hole.


  • Top dress 50% of the recommended dose of N and K on 40 – 45 DAS for varieties.
  • Top dress 1/3rd of recommended dose of N on 40-45 DAS and the remaining 1/3rd on 60-65th DAS for hybrids.


Reform the ridges and furrows after first top dressing in such a way that the plants are on the top of the ridges and well supported by soil.


Spray 40 ppm NAA at 60 and 90 days after sowing on the crop to prevent early shedding of buds and squares and to increase the yield.
 NOTE: 40 mg of NAA dissolved in one litre of water will give 40 ppm.            


KCI 1% spray, twice on 50 and 70 DAS for delayed sowing (first fortnight of March) of summer irrigated cotton in rice-cotton cropping system for Srivilliputhur region.


Nip the terminal portion of the main stem as indicated below: 
For varieties having less than 160 days duration  nip the terminal portion of the main stem beyond the 15th node (75 to 80 DAS) and for varieties and hybrids having more than 160 days duration  beyond the 20th node (85 - 90 DAS).


            Regulate irrigation according to the following growth phases of the crop.

StagesNo. of IrrigationsDays after dibbling seeds
Light soilHeavy soil
Germination Phase(1-15 days)
Irrigate for germination and establishment1Immediately after sowingImmediately after sowing
2Give a life irrigation on 5th day of sowing to facilitate the seedlings to emerge outGive a life irrigation on 5th day of sowing to facilitate the seedlings to emerge out
Vegetative phase (16-44 days)
Regulate1Irrigate on the 20th or 21st day of sowing, three days after hoeing and WeedingIrrigate on the 20th or 21st day of sowing, three days afterhoeing and weeding
2Irrigate again on the 35th or 36th day of sowingIrrigate again on the 40th day ofSowing
Flowering phase (45-100days for hybrids and 87 days for varieties)
Irrigate copiously148th day55th day
260th day70th day
372nd day85th day
484th day100th day
596th day**

** For  TCHB 213 and Suvin only .

Maturity phase
(beyond 100 days for hybrids and 88 days for varieties)
For all varieties other than Suvin,  and TCHB 213
Control irrigation during maturity phase1108th day115th day
2120th day130th day
3130th day 
4144th day 
Stop Irrigation after  150th day
For Suvin, TCHB213 
1108th day115th day
2120th day130th day
3132nd day145th day
4144th day160th day
5158th day...
 Stop irrigation after 160th day


  • If irrigation is given on climatological approach, Schedule the irrigation at 0.40 and 0.60 IW/CPE ratio during vegetative and reproductive phases respectively.
  • The irrigation schedule given above is only a guideline and regulate the irrigationdepending upon the prevailing weather condition and receipt of rains.
  • Adopt alternate furrow or skip furrow irrigation to save irrigation water.

The features of the methods are furnished below: 

Skip furrow irrigation

  1. Suited to heavy soils like clay and loam
  2. Alternate furrows should be skipped and may be converted to ridges having a wide bed formation.
  3. Short term crops like pulses may be raised in wider bed without exclusive irrigation.
  4. Water saving is 50% when compared to control.

Alternate furrow irrigation

  1. During any one run of irrigation a particular set of alternate furrows is irrigated.
  2. The interval of irrigation should be shortened when compared to the conventional furrows.
  3. During the next run, the left over furrows be irrigated.
  4. Suited to heavy soils like clay and loam.


Cotton cultivation under flood irrigation

Cotton cultivation under drip irrigation

Sprinkler irrigation in cotton


  1. Harvest at frequent intervals, at less than 7 days interval.
  2. Harvest in the morning hours upto 10 to 11 a.m only when there is moisture so that dry leaves and bracts do not stick to the kapas and lower the market value.
  3. Pick kapas from well burst bolls only.
  4. Remove only the kapas from the bolls and leave the bracts on the plants.
  5. After kapas is picked, sort out good puffy ones and keep separately.
  6. Keep stained, discoloured and insect attacked kapas separately.

NOTE: Do not mix stained, discoloured and insect damaged kapas with good kapas, as they will spoil the good kapas also and lower the market value of the produce.

Harvest indices: Well burst boll ready for harvest


  • Immediately after picking, dry the kapas in shade. If it is not dried immediately the colour will change which will lower the market value.
  • Do not dry the kapas under direct sun as the fibre strength and luster will be lost.
  • Grade the kapas into good and second quality ones, if it is not sorted out at the time of picking.
  • Spread a thin layer of dry sand on the ground and keep the kapas over it.

Crop Protection

Pest of Cotton

Fruit borer:  Helicoverpa armigera


  • ETL: One egg or one larva/plant


  • Pest monitoring should be intensified at farm, village and state level by using light traps, pheromone traps and in situ assessments by roving and fixed plot surveys. For management, an action threshold of one egg/plant or 1 larva/plant may be adopted.

Cultural practices:

  • Synchronised sowing of cotton preferably with short duration varieties in each cotton ecosystem
  • Avoid continuous cropping of cotton both during winter and summer seasons in the same area as well as ratooning
  • Avoid monocropping. Growing of less preferred crops like greengram, blackgram, soyabean, castor, sorghum etc., along with the cotton as intercrop or border crop or alternate crop to reduce the pest infestation
  • Removal and destruction of crop residues to avoid carry over of the pest to the next season, and avoiding extended period of crop growth by continuous irrigation
  • Optimising the use of nitrogenous fertilizers that will not favour moth multiplication of the pest
  • Judicious water management for the crop to prevent excessive vegetative growth and larval harbourage

Biological control:

  • Application of Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus (NPV) at 3 x 1012 POB /ha in evening hours at 7th and
12th week after sowing•Bacillus thuringiensiskurstaki 750-1000 g/ha•Bacillus thuringiensisserovarkurstaki (3a, 3b, 3c) 5%WP 500-1000 g/ha•Beauveriabassiana1.15% WP 400 g/ha•Conservation and augmentation of natural predators and parasitoids for effective control of the pest.•Inundative release of egg parasitoid, Trichogrammaspp., at 6.25 cc/ha at 15 days interval 3 times from 45 DAS•Egg-larval parasitoid, Chelonusblackburniiand Predator Chrysoperlacarneaat 1,00,000/ha at 6th, 13th and 14th week after sowing.•ULV spray of NPV at 3 x 10 12 POB /ha with 10% cotton seed kernel extract, 10% crude sugar, 0.1% each of Tinopal and Teepol for effective control of HelicoverpaNote: Dicofol, methyl demeton, monocrotophos and phosalone are comparatively safer to Chrysoperlalarva
recording low egg mortality

Chemical control:

  • Discourage the indiscriminate use of insecticides, particularly synthetic pyrethroids
  • Use of proper insecticides that are comparatively safer to natural enemies such as phosalone at the correct dosage and alternating different groups of insecticides for each round of spray
  • Avoid combination of insecticides as tank mix
  • Adopt proper delivery system using spraying equipments like hand compression sprayer, knapsack sprayer and mist blower to ensure proper coverage with required quantity of spray fluid and avoid ULV applications or Akela spray applications
  • Proper mixing and preparation of spray fluid for each filling of spray fluid tank

At early stages of square formation apply one of the following insecticides

Acephate 75% SP 780 g/haFlubendiamide 39.35% SC 100-125 ml/ha
Azadirachtin 0.03% EC 500 ml/haIndoxacarb 14.5% SC 500 ml/ha
10% DP 25 kg/haLufenuron 5.4% EC 600 ml/ha
Chlorantraniliprole 18.5% SC 150 ml/haNovaluron 10% EC 1000 ml/ha
Chlorpyriphos 20% EC 1250
ml/haNPV of H. armigera0.43% AS 400-600 ml/ha
Diflubenzuron 25% WP 300 g/haProfenofos 50% EC 1750-2500 ml/ha
Emamectin benzoate 5% SG 190-220 g/haPyridalyl10% EC 1500-2000 ml/ha
Fipronil 5% SC 2000 ml/haSpinosad 45.0% SC 165-220 ml/ha
Flubendiamide 20% WG 250 g/haThiodicarb 75% WP 1000 g/ha

During bolling and maturation stage, apply any one of the following insecticides (1000 l of spray fluid/ha):

  • Quinalphos 25 EC 2.0 l/ha
  • Carbaryl 50 WP 2.5 kg/ha
  • Pyraclofos 50 EC 1.5 l/ha

Feeding injury

Circular bore hole





Pink bollworm: Pectinophora gossypiella

Symptoms of damage

  • Rosetted flowers
  • Excreta observed at the point of bore holes by larval feeding. When bolls are opened, damaged seed kernel would be observed.
  • They cut window holes (interlocular burrowing) in the two adjoining seeds thereby forming "double seeds"
  • The attacked buds and immature bolls drop off
  • Discolored lint and burrowed seeds

Identification of the pest


  • Shows colour variation. Young larva are white and late instar becomes almost black, brown or green to pale or pink
  • Several dark and light alternating bands running the entire length


  • Small moth
  • Forewings are brown or dull yellow olive grey with dark spots
  • Hind wings margins are deeply fringed 


Young larva



  • ETL: 10% infested fruiting parts
  • Use pheromone trap to monitor the adult moth activity
  • Three weekly releases of egg parasitoid Trichogrammatoideabactrae@1,00,000/ha per release
coinciding the incidence of the pest. Dust carbaryl 5% D 20 kg/ha
  • Spraying any one of the following insecticides:•Phosalone 35% EC 2000 ml/ha•Triazophos 40 EC 2.5l/ha
Spotted bollworms: Earias vittella, Spiny bollworm: Earias insulana 

Symptom of damage

  • Drying and drooping of terminal shoots during pre-flowering stage
  • Shedding of squares and young bolls
  • Flaring up of bracts during square and young boll formation stage
  • Holes on bolls and rotting of bolls

Drying - terminal shoots

Bore holes and rotting

Flared square

Identification of the pest: E. vitella

  • Larva- Brownish with white streaks dorsally and pale yellow ventrally, Without finger shaped processes


  • Small buff coloured
  • Forewings are pea green with a wedge shaped white band running from base to out margin

Identification of the pest: E. insulana

  • Larva- Brown with dorsum showing a white median longitudinal streak. The last two thoracic segments and all the abdominal segments have two pairs of fleshy tubercles (finger shaped processes) one dorsal and the other lateral

  • Pupa - Brown and boat shaped

  • Adult - Small buff coloured. Forewings are uniformly silvery green

E. vitella - Larva

E. vitella - Adult

E. insulana - Larva

E. insulana - Adult


  • ETL: 10% infested shoots / squares / bolls
  • Spraying any one of the following insecticides
  • Carbaryl 5% DP 20 kg/haPhosalone 35% EC 1714ml/ha
    Chlorantraniliprole 18.5% SC 150 ml/haProfenofos 50% EC 1500-2000 ml/ha
    Flubendiamide 39.35% SC 100-125 ml/haTriazophos 40% EC 1500-2000 ml/ha
    Indoxacarb 14.5% SC 500 ml/ha 

Biological control:

  • Bacillus thuringiensisserovarkurstaki (3a, 3b, 3c) 5%WP 750- 1000 g/ha
Cotton Stem Weevil:  Pempheres (Pempherulus) affinis

Symptoms of damage

  • Swellings on the stem just above the ground level
  • Young plants are invariably killed
  • Older plants that survive lack vigor and strength, breaks at the nodes due to strong wind

Stem gall

Stem galls



Identification of the pest

  • Larva - Grub, white in colour without leg (apodous)
  • Adult - Very small weevil, dark in colour with two small white patches on the elytra


  • ETL: 10% infestation
  • Basal application of FYM 25 t/ha and 250 kg/ha of neem cake
  • Seed treatment with chlorpyriphos 20 EC @ 10ml/kg of seed+ Drenching collar region with chlorpyriphos 20 EC @ 2.5ml/ l on 15 and 30 DAS+ earthing up
  • Spray any one of the following insecticides
    • Carbaryl50 WP 2.5 kg/ha
    • Carbofuran 3G 33.3 kg/ha

Shoot weevil: Alcidodes affaber

Symptoms of damage

  • Terminal shoots with galls
  • Bore hole surrounded by raised margins

Identification of the pest

  • Adult - Weevil dark greyish brown with pale cross bands on the elytra


  • Soil application of Carbofuran 3G 30 kg may be done on 20 days after sowing and earthed up
  • Basal application of FYM 25 t/ha or 250 kg/ha of neem cake

Stem borer: Sphennoptera gossypii


Symptoms of damage

  • Plants with drooping leaves
  • Wilting in patches

Identification of the pest

  • Adult - Dark brown jewel beetle


  • Soil application of Carbofuran 3G 30 kg may be done on 20 days after sowing and earthed up
  • Basal application of FYM 25 t/ha or 250 kg/ha of neem cake


Infested plants

Leaf roller: Sylepta derogata
 Symptom of damage
  • Leaves rolled in the form of trumpets fastened by silken threads
  • Marginal portion of leaves eaten away
  • Plants defoliated in severe attack

Rolled leaves

young Larva

Grown up larva




Identification of the pest

  • Larva- Bright green (glistening) with dark head and prothoracic shield
  • Adult- Moth with yellow wings having brown wavy markings


  • Collection and destruction of sheded plant parts
  • Hand picking and destruction of grown up caterpillars
  • Spray any one of the following insecticides
    • chlorpyriphos 20 EC 2.0 l/ha
    • dichlorvos 76 WSC 1.0 l/ha
Tobacco Cutworm: Spodoptera litura

Symptoms of damage

  • Scrapping the epidermal layer, leaving the skeleton of veins of leaf
  • During severe attack, only the stem and side shoots will be standing in the field without any leaf or bolls
  • Larvae feed the leaves by making small holes

Young larva

Grown up larva

Identification of the pest
  • Egg - Laid in masses which appear golden brown
  • Larva- Pale greenish with dark markings. Gregarious in the early stages
  • Adult: Forewings- brown colour with wavy white marking
  • Hindwings- white colour with a brown patch along the margin


  • ETL:8 egg masses/100 m row
  • Use of light trap to monitor and kill the attracted adult moths•Set up the sex pheromone trap at 12/ha to monitor the activity of the pest and to synchronise the pesticide
application, if need be, at the maximum activity stage•Growing castor along border and irrigation bunds•Removal and destruction of egg masses in castor and cotton crops•Removal and destruction of early stage larvae found in clusters that can be located easily even from a distance•Collection and destruction of shed materials•Hand picking and destruction of grown up caterpillars•Spray any one of the following insecticides per ha using a high volume sprayer covering the foliage and soil surface:•Chlorpyriphos 20 EC 2.0 l•Chlorpyriphos 20 EC 1.25 l•Chlorantraniliprole 18.5% SC 150 ml•Diflubenzuron 25% WP 300-350g•Spraying nuclear polyhedrosis virus at 1.5 x 1012 POB per ha in evenings.•Spraying of insecticides should be done either in the early morning or in the evening and virus in the evening.•Use of poison bait pellets prepared with rice bran 12.5 kg, jaggery 1.25 kg, Carbaryl 50% WP 1.25 kg and water 7.5 litres. This bait can be spread in the fields in the evening hours so that the caterpillars coming out of the soil, feed and get killed.


Ash weevils: Mylloecerus undecimpustulatus

M. maculosus  
M. subfasciatus
M. viridanus                      
M. discolor

Symptom of damage
  • Leaf margins notched
  • Wilting of plants in patches
  • Plants come easily when pulled
  • Roots eaten away by grubs

Identification of the pest

  • Grub - Small, white apodous grub
  • Mylloecerusundecimpustulatus  – Greenish elytra having dark lines
  • M. subfasciatus - Brownish weevil
  • M. viridanus –small light green weevil
  • M. discolor- brown weevil


  • Remove the affected branches/plants and destroy
  • Spraying of quinalphos 1.0 l/ha or chlorpyriphos 1.0 l/ha
Leafhopper:  Amrasca (Biguttula biguttula) devastans

Symptoms of damage

  • Tender leaves become yellow
  • The margin of the leaves start curling downwards and reddening sets in
  • In the case of severe infestation, leaves get a bronze or brick red colour which is typical “hopper burn” symptom
  • The margin of leaves gets broken and crumbles into pieces when crushed
  • The leaves dry, shed and the crop growth gets retarded

Identification of the pest

  • Nymph - Light green, translucent, wingless found between the veins of leaves on the under surface
  • Adult - Green, wedge shaped leafhopper.

Hopper burn

Leaf hopper


  • ETL: 50 nymphs or adults/50 leaves
  • Apply carbofuran 3% CG 25 kg/ha
  • Spray any one of the following insecticides
  • Imidacloprid 200 SL 100 ml/haFipronil 5%SC 1500-2000 ml/ha
    Phosphamidon 40 SL 600 ml/haMethyl demeton 25% EC 1200 ml/ha
    Acetamiprid 20% SP 50 g/haPhosalone 35% EC 857 ml/ha
    Azadirachtin 0.03% WSP 500-1000 g/haProfenofos 50% EC 1000 ml/ha
    Buprofezin 25% SC 1000 ml/haThiacloprid 21.7% SC 100-125 ml/ha
    Clothianidin 50% WDG 30-40 kg/haThiamethoxam 30% FS 10 kg/ha
    Diafenthiuron 50% WP 600 g/haThiamethoxam 25% WG 100 g/ha
    Dimethoate 30% EC 660 ml/ha 


  • NSKE 5% 25 kg/ha•Where the leafhopper is a big menace apply neem oil formulation 0.5 % or neem oil 3% thrice at fortnightly

Downward cupping of leaf

Cotton aphid: Aphis gossypii

 Symptom of damage

  • Infesting tender shoots and under surface of the leaves
  • Curling and crinkling of leaves
  • Stunted growth
  • Blighted appearance when infestation is severe
  • Development of black sooty mould due to the excretion of honey dew giving the plant a dark appearance

Identification of the pest

  • Nymphs - Yellowish or greenish brown found on the undersurface of leaves
  • Adults - Greenish brown, soft bodied and small insects
  • Winged forms may be seen under crowded conditions


  • ETL: 15% of infested plant

Spray any one of the following insecticides (500 l spray fluid/ha)

  • Methyl demeton 25 EC 500ml/ha
  • Dimethoate 30 EC 500ml/ha
  • Acetamiprid 20% SP 50 g/ha
  • Azadirachtin 0.03% EC 500 ml/ha
  • Buprofezin 25% SC1000 ml/ha
  • Carbosulfan 25%DS 60g/kg of seed
  • Chlorpyrifos 20% EC 1250 ml/ha
  • Diafenthiuron 50% WP 600 ml/ha
  • Dimethoate 30% EC 660 ml/ha
  • Fipronil 5% SC 1500-2000 ml/ha
  • Imidacloprid 70% WG 30-35 kg/ha
  • Imidacloprid 17.8% SL 100 -125 ml/ha
  • Malathion 50% EC 1000 ml/ha
  • Methyl demeton 25% EC 1200 ml/ha
  • Profenofos 50% EC 1000 ml/ha
  • Thiacloprid 21.7% SC 100-125 ml/ha
  • Thiamethoxam 25% WG 100 g/ha

Thrips: Thrips tabaci

Symptom of damage

  • Shriveling of leaves due to scrapping of epidermis and de-sapping
  • Attacked terminal buds-have ragged edges
  • Silvery shine on the undersurface of leaves

Identification of the pest

  • Nymphs - Very minute, slender, yellowish and microscopic
  • Adult - Small, slender, yellowish to brown with fringed wings


  • ETL: 50 nymphs or adults/50 leaves
  • Seed treatment with imidacloprid 70 WS 7g/kg protect the crop from aphids, leafhoppers and thripsupto 8 weeks
  • Spray any one of the following insecticides (500 l spray fluid/ha)
  • Imidacloprid 200 SL  @100 ml
  • Methyl demeton 25 EC 500ml/ha
  • Dimethoate 30 EC 500ml/ha
  • NSKE 5% @ 2 kg/ha
Whitefly: Bemisia tabaci


 Symptom of damage

  • Chlorotic spots on the leaves which latter coalesce forming irregular yellowing of leaf tissue which extends from veins to the outer edges of the leaves
  • Severe infestation results in premature defoliation
  • Development of sooty mould
  • Shedding of buds and bolls and poor boll opening
  • It also transmits the leaf curl virus diseases of cotton

Identification of the pest

  • Nymph- Greenish yellow, oval in outlinePupa- Oval in shape, present on the under surface of the leavesAdult- Minute insects with yellow body covered with a white waxy bloom





  • ETL: 5 - 10 /leaf
  • •Avoid the alternate, cultivated host crops of the white fly in the vicinity of cotton crop•Growing cotton only once a year either in winter or summer season in any cotton tract•Adopting crop rotation with non-preferred hosts such as sorghum, ragi, maize etc., for the white fly to check the build up of the pest•Removal and destruction of alternate weed hosts like Abutilon indicum (Thuthi), Chrozophore rottlari (Purapirakkai), Solanum nigrum (Manathakali / Milaguthakali, Chukkittikeerai)
and Hibiscus ficulensus from the fields and neighbouring areas and maintaining field sanitation•Timely sowing with recommended spacing, preferably wider spacing and judicious application of recommended dose of fertilizers, particularly nitrogenous and irrigation management is essential to arrest the excessive
vegetative growth and pest build up. Late sowing may be avoided and the crop growth should not be extended
beyond its normal duration•Field sanitation may be given proper attention. Cultivation of most preferred alternate host crops like brinjal, bhendi, tomato, tobacco and sunflower may be
avoided. In case their cultivation is unavoidable, plant protection measures should be extended to these crops
also•Monitoring the activities of the adult white flies by setting up yellow pan traps and sticky traps at 1 feet height above the plant canopy and also in situ counts•Collection and removal of whitefly infested leaves from the plants and those which were shed due to the attack of the pest and destroying them
  • Chemical control: •Acetamiprid
20% SP 100 g/ha •Chlorpyriphos 20% EC 1250 ml/ha 
  • Spray any one of the following plant products alone or in combination with the recommended dose of insecticide (at 2 ml/l of water)
  • •Neem seed kernel extract 5% (50 kg) and neem oil at 5 ml/l of water•Fish oil rosin soap 25 kg at 1 kg in 40 lit of water•Notchi leaves 5% extract Catharanthus roseus aextract 5%•In the early stages with high volume sprayer, use a gooseneck nozzle to cover the under surface of the foliage to get good control of the pest. If high volume sprayers are not available, 375 litres of spray fluid may be used per hectare for application in the low volume motorised knapsack mist blower•The use of synthetic pyrethroids should be discouraged in cotton to avoid the problem of whitefly•Fenvalerte and deltamethrin cause resurgence of whiteflies,so avoid repeated spraying of pyrethroids•The plant protection measures should be adopted on a community basis in a specified cotton areas
  • Biological control: Verticillium lecanii 1.15% WP 2500 g/ha
Red cotton bug: Dysdercus cingulatusi

Symptom of damage

  • Red stained lint and rotting bolls
  • Inner boll wall with warty growth or water soaked spots
  • Young bolls abort and turn dark brown
  • The bacterium Nematosporagossypii enters the site of injury and stains the fibre

Identification of the pest

  • Nymphs and Adults - Reddish bugs with white bands on the abdomen and black markings on the wings


    1. Plough the field to expose the eggs
    2. Spray phosphamidon 40 SL 600 ml/ha

Dusky cotton bug: Oxycarenushyalinipennis

Symptom of damage

  • Sucks the sap from developing seeds in open bolls and stains the lint black
  • Seeds discolored and shrunken

Identification of the pest

  • Eggs - Cigar shaped, white eggs in clusters of 2-10 within the half opened bolls, on the bolls, flower or buds
  • Nymphs and adults - Dusky, greyish brown bug, with pointed head and hyaline wings


  • Spray phosphamidon 40 SL 600 ml/ha

Mealy bugs: Phenacoccus sp, Ferrisa spand  Maconellicoccus sp 

Symptom of damage

  • Heavy clustering of mealy bugs usually seen under surface of leaves as a thick mat with waxy secretion
  • Excrete copious amount of honey dew on which the fungus sooty mould grow
  • Affected plants appear sick and black, resulting reduced fruiting capacity


  • Remove the alternate weeds hosts
  • Monitor the incidence regularly and look for crawler emergence
  • Take up the management at intial stage to get maximum control
  • Wherever necessary use neem based botanical insecticides such as neem oil 2% or NSKE 5% orfish oil rosin soap 25g/litre of water
  • Use of Encyrtid parasitoids, Acerophaguspapayae@ 100 per village against Paracoccusmarginatusand Aenasiusbambawaeliagainst Phenococcussolenopsisare recommended
  • Use of dimethoate or profenophos  2 ml/lit may be adopted as an alternative

Diseases of Cotton

Fusarium wilt : Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. vasinfectum


  • Initial symptoms on young seedlings are yellowing and browning of cotyledons, followed by brown ring on the petiole.
  • Finally wilting & drying of the seedling occurs. Symptom at later stages includes loss of turgidity, yellowing, drooping and wilting starting from older leaves.
  • Browning or blackening of vascular tissues occur on the stem and spreads upwards and downwards. Infected plants appear stunted with fewer bolls.
  • Treat the acid-delinted seeds with Carboxin or Carbendazim at 4 g/kg.
  • Remove and burn the infected plant debris in the soil after deep summer ploughing during June-July.
  • Apply increased doses of potash with a balanced dose of nitrogenous and phosphatic fertilizers.
  •  Apply heavy doses of farm yard manure or other organic manures at 100t/ha.
  • Spot drench with 0.05 % Benomyl or 0.1 % Carbendazim.

Verticillium wilt : Verticillium dahliae


  • It affects the crop in square and boll formation stages
  • Bronzing of veins followed by interveinal chlorosis, yellowing and scorching of leaves
  • Leaves exhibit drying of leaf margins and areas between veins known as “Tiger stripe symptom”
  • Affected plants remain barren showing pinkish discolouration in stem and wood. It may produce smaller bolls
  • Treat the delinted seeds with Carboxin or Carbendazim at 4 g/kg.
  • Remove and destroy the infected plant debris after deep ploughing in summer months (June-July).
  • Apply heavy doses of farm yard manure or compost at 100t/ha.
  • Follow crop rotation by growing paddy or lucerne or chrysanthemum for 2-3 years.
  • Spot drench with 0.05 % Benomyl or 0.1 % Carbendazim.

Root rot: Rhizoctonia bataticola (Pycnidial stage: Macrophomina phaseolina)


  • Germinating seedling shows black lesions on hypocotyls, girdling of stem and death of seedlings.
  • Affected basal stem becomes dark with bark shredding and scloretial bodies in the shredded bark.
  • The entire root system gets rotted, plants dried & can be easily pulled out.
  • Treat the seeds with Trichoderma viride @ 4g/kg or Pseudomonas fluorescens @ 10g/kg of seed.
  • Treat the seeds with Carboxin or Thiram at 5 g or Carbendazim at 2g/kg.
  • Spot drench with 0.1% Carbendazim or 0.05% Benomyl.
  • Apply farm yard manure at 10t/ha or neem cake at 2.5t/ha.
  • Adjust the sowing time, early sowing (First week of April) or late sowing (Last week of June) so that crop escapes the high soil temperature conditions.
  • Adopt intercropping with sorghum or moth bean (Phaseolus aconitifolius) to lower the soil temperature. 

Grey or Areolate mildew : Ramularia areola


  • Irregular to angular pale translucent lesions on lower surface, bound by veinlets and grey powdery growth
  • Light green specks on upper surface
  • In severe cases whitish grey powdery growth on upper surface.  Affected leaves dry up inward, turn yellow and fall prematurely
  • Growing the resistant varieties like Sujatha and Varalakshmi.
  • Remove and burn the infected crop residues.
  • Rogue out the self-sown cotton plants during summer months.
  • Avoid excessive application of nitrogenous fertilizers/manures.
  • Adopt the correct spacing based on soil conditions and varieties.
  • Spray the crop with Carbendazim at 250-375g or wettable sulphur at 1.25-2.0 kg/ha, repeat after a week

Boll rot

It is a complex disease caused by several fungal pathogens viz., Fusarium moniliforme, Colletotrichum capsici, Aspergillus flavus, A. niger, Rhizopus nigricans, Nematospora nagpuri and Botryodiplodia sp. 


  •  Brown or black dots covering entire bolls
  • Rotting may be internal or external
  • Bolls do not open and fall prematurely
  • Adopt optimum spacing.
  • Apply the recommended doses of fertilizers.
  • Spray Carbendazim 1kg or Mancozeb 2 kg/ha from 45th day at 15 days interval.

Alterneria leaf blight: Alternaria macrospora


  • The disease may occur in all stages but more severe when plants are 45-60 days old.
  • Small, plate to brown, irregular or round spots, may appear on the leaves.
  • Each spot has a central lesion surrounded by concentric rings.
  • Several spots coalesce together to form blighted areas.
  • The affected leaves become brittle and fall off.
  • Sometimes stem lesions are also seen.
  • In severe cases, the spots may appear on bracts and bolls.


  • Remove and destroy the infected plant residues.
  • Spray Mancozeb or Copper oxychloride at 2kg/ha at the intimation of the disease.
  • Two to three sprays may be given at 15 days interval. 

Myrothecium leaf spot: Myrothecium roridum


  • Reddish spots of 0.5 mm-1cm diameter may appear near the margins of the leaves.
  • The affected portions fall off leaving irregular shot holes in the leaves.


  • Remove and destroy the infected plant residues.
  • Spray Mancozeb or Copper oxychloride at 2kg/ha at the intimation of the disease.
  • Two to three sprays may be given at 15 days interval. 

Cercospora leaf spot: Cercospora gossypina


  • Round or irregular greyish spots
  • Dark brown or blackish borders appear on older leaves


  • Remove and destroy the infected plant residues.
  • Spray Mancozeb or Copper oxychloride at 2kg/ha at the intimation of the disease.
  • Two to three sprays may be given at 15 days interval. 

Bacterial blight: Xanthomonas campestris p.v malvacearum


  • Water soaked, circular or irregular lesions on cotyledons which spread to petiole and stem and finally withering and death of seedling known as Seedling blight
  • Small, dark green, water soaked areas develop on lower surface of leaves, enlarge gradually and become angular when restricted by veins and veinlets and spots are visible on both the surface of leaves (Angular leaf spot)
  • The infection of veins and veinlets shows blackening with crinkled and twisted leaves and bacterial oozing (vein necrosis or vein blighting)
  • Black lesions on stem and branches, premature drooping off of the leaves resulting in die back known as Black arm
  • It also affects the bolls causing boll rot


  • Delint the cotton seeds with concentrated sulphuric acid at 100ml/kg of seed.
  • Treat the acid delinted seeds with Carboxin or Oxycarboxin at 2 g/kg or soak the seeds in 1000 ppm Streptomycin sulphate overnight.
  • Remove and destroy the infected plant debris.
  • Rogue out the volunteer cotton plants and weed hosts

Angular leaf spot

Vein necrosis

Boll rot

Tobacco Streak Virus


  • The acute or necrotic stage – local lesions appear as rings, irregular purplish spots or solid necrotic spots.
  • The early recovery stage – new leaves develop which appear normal except for chlorotic veins
  • The chronic or late recovery stage – the leaf is thicker than normal with a smoother texture and the tubular corolla splits with the petals becoming separated an/d square are drying.


  • Spray Acephate 450 g / acre