LAHORE - The Punjab Agriculture Department has started off-season management of cotton for better production during the next season .

Spokesman of Agriculture Department Punjab said that off-season management strategy adopted well before cotton sowing would minimize the chances of attack by pink bollworm and other pests. It is in the interest of cotton grower to adopt off-season management strategy after last picking of cotton crop. It is also observed that off-season pest management strategy adopted by Agriculture Department and farmers delivered higher cotton production during this year.

He said that early harvest and stalk destruction are among the most effective cultural and mechanical practices for managing overwintering boll worms if done on an area wide basis. These practices reduce habitat and food available to the boll weevil, pink bollworm, boll-worm and tobacco budworm. Shred cotton stalks after harvesting at the earliest possible date and do not allow stubble to regrow or volunteer seedlings to remain within fields or surrounding field margins or drainage system banks.

The spokesman said that particular attention should be given to the destruction of green or cracked bolls and other plant debris left at the ends of rows following stripper harvest. It is harmful to leave cotton in fields during the fall and winter months. This cotton provides the boll weevil with a host plant on which reproduction occurs through-out the year. Boll weevil infestations which are allowed to develop during the winter may be extremely difficult to control during the following season .

He warned that if a thorough stalk destruction program is not carried out, the benefits of the pest management program can be reduced significantly. The spokesman further disclosed that ginning waste should also be destroyed for high yield of cotton as this waste serves as nursery for pink bollworm.