Two lakh hectares of samba crop come under mite and mealy bug attack

Less than normal rainfall during October under northeast monsoon has become a matter of concern for farmers of Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts who have taken up samba cultivation on a large scale.

The rain god has been playing hide and seek with an overcast sky most of the time but no rainfall.

Farmers are worried over pest attack which gets exacerbated by this intermittent sunshine and drizzle.

According to agriculture department officials, while normal rainfall for Tiruvarur district during October is 205.66 mm, the district had received only 66.06 mm till October 30.

Less than average

With respect to Thanjavur district, only 71 mm of rainfall has been received in October. This is 135 mm less than the average 206 mm.

Less than normal rainfall and humid weather have contributed to the increase in mite and mealy bug attacks in crops at many places.

Agriculture department officials and scientists from Needamangalam Krishi Vigyan Kendra visited Thiruthuraipoondi and Kottur areas over the past two days and suggested measures for controlling pest attack.

“On Monday we visited Perugavazhndan and other villages and educated farmers on controlling pest attack,” Mayilvahanan, Deputy Director of Agriculture, Tiruvarur district, said.

Pest control

Farmers have been advised to spray Thiamethoxam at the rate of 50 gram in 200 litres of water per acre using hand-operated sprayers.

They can also spray a mixture of Dimethoxane 400 ml and Azadirachtin 200 ml with 400 grams of Wettable Sulphur for an acre. Bio-remedies suggested by officials include spraying of garlic and neem extracts. Copious rainfall, however, could wash away these pests, the officials said. Farmers of Thanjavur district has taken up samba cultivation so far on 70,000 hectares against a target of 1,20,000 hectares.

In Tiruvarur district the crop has been raised on 1,27,000 hectares of which nearly 70,000 hectares was through direct sowing.

“While we are worried over less than normal rainfall in October, we hope to get a good rain during November and December. There is no need for panic as there was good rain on Monday in some areas in Tiruvarur district,” said S.Ranganathan, secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association.