Dry spells during monsoon have led to pest attack and undergrowth in kharif crops in the state’s Hadauti region, triggering concerns among farmers ahead of harvest season.
Hadauti region witnessed deficient rains in this monsoon season whose brunt was faced by the farmers.
Soybean crop, which is sown in 5.60 lakh hectares area in the region’s four districts Kota, Bundi, Baran and Jhalawar, is the worst affected kharif crop.
Tobacco caterpillar, a typical soybean crop pest, has infested the crop.
Raju Nagar, a farmer at Ruggi village in Kota, said he has cultivated soybean in around 30 beegha of land under contract farming but around 20% of his crop is facing threat from the caterpillar attack.
Hadauti Kisan Union leader Dashrath Kumar said at least 25% soybean crop in the region has been damaged by tobacco caterpillar.
“The caterpillar eats up leaves to damage growth of soybean plant and later effects production of the crop,” he said.
“Irregular and scanty rains have lead to the rise of pest in soybean and agriculture department have failed to check spread of the pest,” he said.
“Many soybean cultivators have uprooted their damaged soybean crop in their agricultural fields due to pest attack,” he said.
A team of the agriculture department from Jaipur also carried out a survey of soybean pest infestation. During the survey, it was found that up to 20% crop was affected by the pest.
Agriculture department officials in Kota, however, are claiming limited impact of pest on soybean production.
Asked, agriculture department’s joint director in Kota PK Gupta said the department survey found tobacco caterpillar infestation in soybean below ‘Economical Threshold Level’ (insignificant infestation).
“Assessment of the infestation is an average and varies from place to place,” he said.
He said subsidy of maximum ₹500 or 50% concession on pesticides (whichever is less) for soybean has already been issued to affected areas in all districts of the region.
There are also reports of damage to black gram crop, which is sown in 3.20 lakh hectares area in the region.
Badrilal Bairagi, a villager in Bundi, said unfavourable weather and less rains have led to undergrowth in black gram crop in several villages.
According to figures obtained from the flood control room of Command Area Development, four districts of Hadauti region has received up to 50% less rainfall than average for this time of the year.