Hoeing in orchards could save plants from mealybug attack: experts

MULTAN: Agriculture experts have advised orchard owners to perform hoeing around trunks of trees in their orchards to kill eggs of mealybug while they are in dormancy to plug chances of their attack during the next season.

In a press release issued by media liaison unit of Punjab agriculture department on Wednesday, the experts said that applying off-season management techniques could save citrus, mango, guava, loquat, blackberry and other fruits from mealybug attack.

The next generation of mealybug is approaching the stage of its growth and their killing at this stage would save the fruit to a great extent during the next season, the experts explained.

They said that farmers should also keep the tools clean after using in trimming plants or harvest.

The trimming could ensure easy access of sunlight to plants and kill mealybug eggs present on old branches, they maintained.

They pointed out that farmers should also apply weedicides on weeds grown in or around watercourses as they may also be hosting mealybug. These weeds should be buried after the spray. The orchards that had experienced mealybug attack during previous season should get spray of suitable pesticides, the experts warned.

The farmers should apply Carbofuron at the rate of 10 kilogrammes per acre or spread it under each plant at the rate of 100 grammes per plant and then apply water.

They added that farmers should also apply Chloropyrephos with water.

Meanwhile, Punjab Agriculture Department Adaptive and Research Director General Muhammad Zafar Yab Haider said that uplift of agriculture and farmers was among top priorities of the provincial government and in this regard, it had taken various initiatives.

He said the government was fully aware of the fact that the sector could be strengthened with the implementation of modern technologies.

He said numerous steps were taken by the government during the last year to benefit farmers, including use of drone technology in the agriculture sector to enhance productivity of different crops and introduction of Unmanned Air vehicle(UAV) drone which was a small unmanned aircraft and this technology could be used for applications of pesticides on crops, monitoring of weeds, pests, and nutritional deficiencies, geographical survey of crops, area and water resources.

He pointed out that the Punjab government had started projects worth Rs2.25 billion to promote modern system of irrigation and technology suitable for country’s weather conditions.

The official said the ongoing projects included drip/sprinkle irrigation system, for which the government was providing 60% subsidy, installation of tunnel on which 50% subsidy was being provided, while 80% subsidy was being given for running drip irrigation system on solar system.

Haider maintained drip irrigation system had been installed on more than 11,000 acres of land, tunnel farming on more than 350 acres of land, while on an area of more than 1,500 acres, drip/ sprinkle irrigation system with solar system had been installed.

He said the agriculture department also initiated a project for the development of new cotton varieties to boost the yield of the commodity.

He said the Punjab government was working on a project to save foreign exchange by promoting the cultivation of oil producing commodities.

He elaborated that 45 farms would be upgraded in Punjab to obtain maximum benefit by the end of June 2018.

“The objective behind the move is to make barren land cultivable as this effort would help in boosting yield of various agricultural commodities in the country.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2018.

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1601975/1-hoeing-orchards-save-plants-mealybug-attack-experts/