Spraying of pesticides in Perambalur, Ariyalur districts begins

To check the spread of fall armyworm in maize fields

Published - October 27, 2019 06:52 am IST

Collector V.Santha inspecting the mass spraying of pesticide to check the spread of Fall Armyworm at a maize field at Kunnam panchayat in Perambalur district recently.

Collector V.Santha inspecting the mass spraying of pesticide to check the spread of Fall Armyworm at a maize field at Kunnam panchayat in Perambalur district recently.

The Agriculture department has begun mass spraying of pesticides on maize fields in Perambalur and Ariyalur districts, two major maize growing districts, to check the spread of fall armyworm ( spodoptera frugiperda ), an invasive pest, which devastated the crop last year.

The State government recently allotted ₹47 crore for the first phase of the exercise to be taken up in identified villages in 23 districts.

The effort comes in the wake of field reports indicating infestation of the pest in some parts of the State. Last year, maize crop on 2.20 lakh hectares (ha) out of the total cultivated area of 3.55 lakh ha was devastated by the pest.

Pesticides recommended by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University will be sprayed on crops less than 45 days old depending on the age of the crop.

A neem-based pesticide will be sprayed on crops that are 15 to 20 days old and one of the three recommended pesticides will be used on those 40 to 45 days old.

With Perambalur being a major maize growing area, the government allotted ₹18.41 crore for the district. Maize has been grown on about 56,385 ha in the district so far this year, said V. Dakshinamoorthy, Director of Agriculture, after inspecting the mass spraying exercise along with Collector V. Santha at Kunnam on Thursday.

The pesticide will be sprayed through farmers interest groups or other service providers (wherever such groups are not available). The groups willbe paid ₹1,000 a hectare towards spraying charges, he said.

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