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Web Exclusive | December 2017

Pink bollworm may lead to lower cotton output

The recent pink bollworm incidence in certain cotton growing regions suggest that cotton production in India may be lower than the earlier forecast, according to the Mumbai office of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US department of agriculture. For marketing year (MY) 2017-18, FAS Mumbai forecast cotton production at 29.8 million 480 lb bales.

The revised forecast translates to 38.16 million bales of 170 kg on acreage of 12.3 million hectares. The FAS Mumbai forecast is 2,00,000 480 lb bales lower than USDA official estimate. This is due to the recent untimely rains and pest infestation issues in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, which suggest lowering production. The all India yield is expected to be around 528 kg per hectare.

In Telangana, first pickings are over, but farmers are not rushing to the market to deliver seed cotton due to low market prices. Seed cotton prices in the wholesale market yards in Telangana are staying close to minimum support price (MSP) rates. “However, much of the cotton is discounted due to poor quality issues like discolouration and high moisture content,” FAS Mumbai said in its Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report released this month.

Further, there was high incidence of pink bollworm and sucking pests for the first picking in certain districts in Telangana. However, there seem to be limited issues with quality in the standing crop ready for the second picking.

In Andhra Pradesh, the Government has issued advisories to install pheromone traps to monitor the incidence of pink bollworm along with the spraying of insecticides. A similar advisory was issued in northern Telangana.

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