Action plan to fight fall army worm

Farm officers told to visit fields for 4 days every week

June 29, 2019 11:16 pm | Updated 11:16 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Agriculture Commissioner Rahul Bojja addressing the meeting in Hyderabad on Saturday.

Agriculture Commissioner Rahul Bojja addressing the meeting in Hyderabad on Saturday.

In a bid to contain the impact of fall armyworm on maize crop which affected both yield and production of the cereal crop badly across Telangana last year, the Agriculture Department has asked its Extension Officers (AEOs) to be with farmers on the field creating awareness and suggesting measures to fight the menace.

At a meeting with district Collectors held here on Saturday, Agriculture Commissioner Rahul Bojja asked the former to prepare an action plan for 45 days to tackle the problem in the first crucial stage of the crop. He told the Collectors to convene meetings with District Agriculture Officers, Assistant Directors, Mandal Agriculture Officers and Agriculture Extension Officers on the steps to be taken during the kharif season.

He suggested that AEOs must visit fields in villages under their purview for four days every week and suggest the farmers steps to fight the problem. He told the Collectors to keep pheromone traps, bio-pesticides, neem oil and other necessary pesticides available to farmers. Additional Director Vijay Kumar, scientists and plant protection and integrated pest management officers attended the meeting.

According to the scientists of Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) farmers could use four pheromone traps per acre and 10 bird perches per acre to contain the infestation of fall armyworm in the early stages of crop.

Farmers should also remove alternate host plants (weeds) to minimise the shelter to insect by keeping the crop completely weed-free for the first 45 days.

Meanwhile, scientists at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) are preparing pheromone traps and supplying them to farmers free of cost.

Last year, they were able to prepare and supply 58,000 traps to tackle the menace of fall armyworm in about 25,000 acres of maize field in Warangal district. The Agriculture Department has requested IICT to prepare 4.5 lakh traps sufficient for 2 lakh acres.

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