COTTON PEST CONTROL PROBLEMS IN ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA: OPTIMISING PEST MANAGEMENT OPTIONS FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE APPROACH TO COTTON CULTIVATION
Mar 13, 2017

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Abstract                                                                         Back to Table of contents

Changes in the field effectiveness of insecticides for control of cotton pests in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, India for the period 1979-92 are documented. Since 1985, cotton yields have decreased largely as a result of over dependence on insecticides for pest management resulting in resurgence of whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, and the development of insecticide resistance in the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera. Experiments are described where it is shown that intercropping cotton with short duration legumes or fox-tail millet (Setaria italica), results in higher cotton yields than sole cotton with the benefit of additional yield from the intercrop. An integrated pest management (IPM) strategy was evaluated alongside standard farmer practice for cotton production in Guntur district and in two seasons, significantly higher yields were recorded in the IPM treatment where only five insecticide applications were made compared to the 23 applications for the farmer practice treatment.

Conclusions

The results presented in this paper show that many of  the insect pest problems encountered in cotton crops in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, can be attributed to risk averse farmers over-using insecticides. Pyrethroid, organochlorine and organophosphate insecticides are now far less effective against cotton pests than they were in the early 1980s. This is largely a result of development of insecticide resistance in the major cotton pest, H. armigera and resurgence in the sucking pest complex, some of which may also be resistant to insecticides but this has not been tested in India to date.

The simple IPM trials outlined in this paper clearly show that by enhancing natural enemies in the cotton cropping system through intercropping, reduced conventional insecticide inputs and improved agronomic practices, higher cotton yields can result. Farmers would also benefit from reduced costs associated with the purchase and application of pesticides which, under current  practice, are applied at least once per week and frequently up to three times per week.

The next stage of this research will be to undertake similar trials in farmers' fields to demonstrate the benefits of IPM and encourage farmers to adopt similar practices.

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1 Comment

Michel Fok
Jun 14, 2017
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