LAHORE/multan - Punjab Minister for Agriculture Dr Farrukh Javed has directed the field and extension officers of agriculture department to start spray on war-footing for prevention of attack of white pest on cotton crop. The minister took notice of the attack of white pest in the area of cotton belt in Punjab. He directed all the field officers to make direct coordination with cotton cultivators and ensure the process of spray.

He said that an awareness campaign should be started immediately across the province in this regard. He personally will not only monitor the whole process but also himself visit the concerned areas to ensure the preventing measures 100 percent. He expressed these views while talking in a meeting of agriculture officers regarding attack of white pest on cotton crop. He said that sudden increase in temperature after Eid, start damaging cotton crop in some areas. The minister said that this year cultivation of cotton crop is less than the last year and effective measures could not be taken in time could cause massive damage.  He directed the field officers to ensure timely spray across the province and if send report to the department and any negligence in this regard would not be tolerated.

Call to counter Bronze Wilt disease of cotton

A senior plant pathologist said on Tuesday that symptoms of Bronze Wilt disease were witnessed at some places in the cotton belt and advised farmers to adopt measures to counter the disease.

Tariq Mahmood, the head of Plant Pathology Department of Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI), Multan, said in a statement that symptoms of Bronze Wilt commonly called 'Surkh Jhulsao' usually appear on the plants of early maturing varieties during boll formation or fruit formation stage and it increases with the increase in the number of bolls.

It turns the leaf red and creates holes in them. It also blackens the trunk of the plant. Tariq said that it is hard to distinguish between Bacterial Blight and Bronze Wilt diseases; however, agriculture experts can identify it.

Mostly, it hits plants near the edges of the field and it is also a possibility that only one plant is affected by it.

He said that it can either be caused by germs, deficiency or excess of food and water or the deficiency of Phosphorous or Sulphur and Potash or excess of Nitrogen.

Unsuitable PH value of soil could also be a contributing factor.

Tariq advised farmers that in case of observing the symptoms of Bronze Wilt they should immediately get the soil analyzed from laboratory and provide Phosphorous, Potash and Sulphur as per soil needs. Zinc and Boron be also applied if needed.

Water should be applied in suitable quantity at proper time while pesticides be sprayed in suitable quantity and at right time.

He said that farmers should consult experts of CCRI Multan in case of any problem hurting their cotton crop.