Monday, March 14, 2011



"Cultivated in sub-tropical environment of Punjab, cotton plays a vital role in diversifying the cropping system of this region due to its little water requirement and other activities related to its cultivation such as processing and employment opportunities for about 60 million people. Incidence of insect pests, particularly bollworm, is the major constraint to cotton production. However, this menace is diminishing in recent times and some new challenges such as 'parawilt and tirak' (physiological disorders, without any association with pathogen) are being faced by cotton growers now," divulged PAU scientist Dr R.S.Sarlach of the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics (DPBG), while providing useful tips to the farmers to deal with 'parawilt and tirak' in cotton. Emphasizing on knowing the causes, symptoms, extent of incidence and its management, he added that it is important for realizing the full yield of this crop.

Dr Gurpreet Singh of PAU, pointing to 'parawilt,' said that prolonged drought, high temperature and bright sun light followed by irrigation / heavy rains favor parawilt. Advising the farmers about its management, Dr Singh told that plants may be saved from 'parawilt' with timely foliar application of cobalt chloride (ethylene production inhibitor) @ 10 mg per litre of water (10 ppm) at initial wilting stage. The precautionary spray before irrigation is ineffective for 'parawilt', said he, adding that once permanent wilting has set in, the plants will not recover. He stressed that the treatment is effective only at initial stage. The affected plants will recover within a week of spray without any loss in seed cotton yield. Referring to the stock solution for efficient and proper dose of spray, he recommended that it should be prepared by dissolving 2 g of cobalt chloride in one litre of water. Then 75 ml. of this solution should be dissolved in 15 litre of water and sprayed on 'parawilt' affected plants only. Dr Singh informed that farmers can have this chemical free of cost from Cotton section, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, PAU, and Krishi Vigyan Kendras at district head quarters.

Describing 'tirak' as bad opening of bolls, another PAU scientist Dr P.S.Sekhon said that it is emerging as a serious physiologically disorder. Symptoms of 'tirak' include yellowing and reddening of leaves followed by bad opening of bolls. It appears when cotton suffers from persistent drought, nutrient deficiency on light sandy soil, inadequate water supply and too early sowing. He added that it is common in hybrids, which start early boll formation at a high temperature in June. Dr Sekhon alerted the farmers and advised that the judicious use of fertilizers and timely irrigation during flowering and fruiting stages and use of recommended plant protection schedule help to reduce the intensity of this physiological disorder.

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