­MULTAN-Agricultural scientists pointed out on Wednesday pink bollworm and whitefly could damage cotton crop seriously, suggesting to the growers and agri officials to adopt measures for biological control of the pest attack like increasing the population of predatory insects.

They observed this during a capacity building training of officers of Department of Agriculture Extension organized by the Department of Entomology, Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture Multan (MNS-UAM). The training was attended by Deputy Directors of all districts that fall under cotton zone in six Divisions i.e., Multan, Bahawalpur, Sargodha, Lahore, Dera Ghazi Khan and Sahiwal. Prof Dr Asif Ali (VC) and Zafaryab Haider, Director General Agriculture Extension Punjab chaired the sessions.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Dr Shafqat Saeed Dean, Faculty of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences, said that the purpose of training was to improve the farmer services through capacity building of Agriculture Extension officers in cotton zone. He briefly explained different scouting methods, host plants and control measures to control whitefly population. He focused on the integrated methods for the control of whitefly. He also provided information regarding different insect predators of whitefly. He recommended that whitefly eggs are about 55% in numbers while nymph were present 25%. Nymph is the most destructive in nature. To control whitefly nymph population the population of predatory insects like, Crysopa, Geocorus, Orious and Spiders should be increased. So that by using this technique the chemical pressure on cotton crop should be minimized. For the production of these predatory insects the destruction of natural weeds host plants of these insects like (Shatar) Parthinium, Akk, Jungli Palak, and Batho should be avoided outside the field. Recommended insecticides against whitefly are Spirotetramate, Pyriproxifin, Buprofezin and Diafenthuron, these are considered as safe insecticides against natural enemies.

On the occasion, Mr Habibur Rehman, a representative of pesticide industry, highlighted the importance of chemical products in effective against whitefly. He explained that some products were especially prepared for whitefly control which remained effective for longer periods.

Dr M Ishtiaq, Assistant Prof Department of Entomology talked about Pink bollworm status on Bt cotton according to his survey results. He explained that there was not a single Bt cultivar expressing Cry1Ac resist PBW, rather all the cultivars showed high rate of pink bollworm infestation. He also told that ginning factories waste and cotton sticks has number of PBW larvae that is big source of PBW for next year.

He suggested some management strategies to be adopted worldwide.

He also emphasized that the pest attacks could be controlled through community involvement and all stakeholders must play their role in PBW management.

Later on Dr Arshad Shakeel shared his experience that early sown cotton is under worst attack of PBW that verify the survey results of Dr M Ishtiaq. He suggested to form a team of experts to formulate recommendation for whole Punjab rather depending on CCMG meetings.

Engr Dr Alsmgeer, delivered a comprehensive lecture on spraying techniques. He recommend that flow of spray material should be uniform and it should cover the whole area without interruption. He told about different types of sprayers, nozzles, spraying methods in detail which will help to control insect pests of cotton in an effective way.

Chaudhry Naseer Ahmad , Deputy Director Agric. Extension Lahore, Dr Sagheer Ahamd (Director Cotton Research Station, Multan), Rana Ahmad Munir(Director Agriculture, Multan), Jamal Ahmad (Deputy Director, Khanewal), Shahid Bukhari (Deputy Director, Taba tak sigh), Ghulam Rasol (Layya), Tahir Mehmod (Jhang), Imtiaz Ahmad (Sahiwal), Rana Akhtar ( Okara), Muhamamd Zafar ( Bhakkar), Jamshaid Sindho ( Lodhran), Faiz Muhammad ( Sargodha), Abid Hussain (Dera Ghazi khan) participated in this training along with other Assistant directors and Agriculture Officers.

PFA CRACKDOWN CONTINUES

The food safety teams of Punjab Food Authority continued their crackdown in South Punjab as they sealed five food points besides imposing fine worth Rs127000 on others on Wednesday.

The teams sealed Gujjar Pan Shop and Changla Pan Shop for selling banned gutka, mango drop unit for presence of insects and poor sanitation in production acrea, Pehlwan Sweets and bakers for using non-food grade colours, fake labeling and poor sanitation conditions in Dera Ghazi Khan. Similarly, the teams sealed some other outlets in Bahawalpur and Lodhran. The teams imposed fines worth Rs103,500 on food sellers in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rs23,500 in Bahawalpur and Lodhran.