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MULTAN: Spray of plant extracts or botanical mixture on cotton crop was proving successful in keeping the pests under control and crop was showing better results compared to last year when they had applied pesticides, farmers said.

In an interaction with secretary agriculture south Punjab Saqib Ali Ateel during visits to Bahawalpur, Ahmadpur East, Musafir Khana, Noor Pur, Channi Goth and Liaquat Pur the other day to check cotton demonstration fields. Farmers said, they applied plants extracts spray for the first time on recommendations of agriculture department and witnessed encouraging results.

Pest pressure was under control, crop growth was better, while fruit, flowers and bolls were more than last year, farmers said adding that crop was healthier than what they had witnessed last year at this stage.

Secretary agriculture said that farmers needed to put more energies and skills during the next few weeks in crop care pleading that humidity was on the rise that can invite attack of white fly, Thrips, Jassid, and Pink Bollworm.

He said that farmers who applied chemical sprays witnessed reduced population of crop friendly pests and increase in white fly attack.

Contrary to this, those who applied botanical mixture sprays of tobacco, colocynth (Kora Tumma), Neem, Asafoetida (Hing) and Sodam Apple (Aak) had witnessed enemy pests near to nothing.

He advised daily crop inspection and twice-a-week pest scouting. He warned farmers against white fly nymph saying these were more dangerous and advised application of botanical mixture spray of tobacco, Colocynth or bitter apple traditionally called Kora Tumma, Sodam Apple traditionally called Aak, Neem and Asafoetida traditionally called Hing.

Spray should be applied 3-4 days after noticing white fly nymphs to keep its population under economic threshold level (ETL). Saqib also advised installing yellow sticky pheromone cards or boxes in cotton fields to kill white fly while spray of tobacco extract in water be applied to counter pink bollworm threat. He said that four pheromone traps be also installed per acre in cotton field to counter pink bollworm and replace these after fifteen days.

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