MULTAN-The first meeting of Farmers Advisory Committee (FAC) for the year 2020, held at Cotton Research Station (CRS) Dera Ismail Khan, Thursday declared locust as a big threat to cotton season 2020 and urged farmers to follow guidelines from agriculture experts to minimize losses in case of locust attack.

The meeting chaired by CCRI Multan director, Dr. Zahid Mahmood, discussed cotton season 2019 overall situation and issued a set of guidelines for the cotton season 2020, applicable till February 15, CCRI Multan spokesman said in a statement.

It was observed in the meeting that all the research bodies including CCRIs and cotton research stations should maintain liaison and share experiences to prepare a better strategy for a successful cotton season 2020.

FAC meeting participants urged the government to take timely steps to counter the threat from locusts.

Dr. Zahid advised farmers to get their seed analyzed free from laboratories of Central Cotton Research Institutes (CCRIs) to assess their germination strength before sowing for the cotton season 2020.

He said that cotton sowing has begun in some parts of Sindh and asked farmers to get their soil samples and seed analyzed from government laboratories.

He said that farmers should send 100 grams of seed along with cell numbers to CCRI adding that they would get result via SMS after five days. He said that cotton seed must at least have germination strength of 60 per cent for sowing.

He advised cotton farmers to sow only registered cotton varieties and avoid being swindled by elements dealing in substandard or fake seed.

Detailing off-season cotton management in areas where cotton season 2020 is yet to begin, CCRI Multan director said that cotton sticks farmers have kept for use a fuel wood must be kept in perpendicular position with a wall support and exposed before sunlight to kill pink bollworm and its Pupae hidden inside. Farmers can also instal pheromone traps to kill the pink bollworm.

He also asked farmers to plough their empty fields vacated by cotton to expose hidden pink bollworm and pupae before sunlight.

Head of CRS DI Khan Zahid Usman said that a special campaign was being launched across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to increase cotton sown area in the province.

He said that some cotton areas in DI Khan had cracks in soil and urged farmers to deep plough such land to expose and kill the enemy pests hidden in soil. He said that cotton is sown on 4500 acre area in Dera ismail Khan.

CCRI Multan scientists Dr. Naveed Afzal, Dr. Idrees Khan, Dr. Fayyaz Ahmad, spokesman Sajid Mahmood, and scientific officer Junaid Ahmad while Dr, Nematullah, Dr. Kaleemullah from CRS DI Khan and other staff attended the meeting.