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Frequently Asked Questions [Cotton]


What is best method of land preparation for cotton crop? Top
There are two basic methods of land preparation for cotton crop i.e. dry or wet.  
Do we need to get precision land leveling after every two years or so? Top
Precision land leveling is not required after every two years.   
What are most critical weeds of cotton crop?
Important weeds of cotton crop include itsit, lamb, madhana grass, janglicholai, qulfa, tandlah, hazardani and daila.  
What is recommended quantity of sulfuric acid to be used for treating cotton seed?
One kg sulfuric acid should be used for treating 10 kg cotton seed.  
In case of Bt cotton it has been observed that weeds attack is less as compared to traditional cotton. Why?
Early sowing of cotton disturbs the life cycle of some weeds; hence, their growth is disturbed.  
Why should we get soil analyzed?
If soil is highly acidic, it will have lesser contents of organic matter which are needed for the crop. Moreover, in certain soils certain nutrients may be in deficit while some may be adequately available. If fertilizer is applied without knowing the state of the composition of soil, it may not produce desired results. In view of this, it is strongly recommended that soils of your fields should be got tested from the labs.  
Why should we get water analyzed?
If water is unfit for irrigation, it may not only badly affect the health of crop but may also cause damage to the quality of soil too.  
At the stage of land preparation, can we take some proactive measures to prevent attack of insects and pests?
Yes we can do it. Linings in the field and nearby watercourses should be properly cleaned because they are natural habitats of insects and pests.  
When should be apply first irrigation in case of Bt-cotton sown on beds?
In case of bed sowing of Bt cotton varieties, first irrigation should be applied 2-3 days after sowing.  
What is recommended interval of irrigation for Bt cotton varieties in case of bed sowing?
Recommended interval is 6-9 days  
When should be apply first irrigation after sowing of Bt cotton in lines?
In case of flat sowing of Bt-cotton, first irrigation should be applied 30-35 days after sowing.  
What is recommended interval of irrigation for Bt cotton varieties in case of sowing in lines?
Recommended interval is 12-15 days  
What is recommended timing of last irrigation for Bt cotton sown in lines?
Last irrigation should be applied latest by 15th Oct  
When should be apply first irrigation in case non-Bt cotton sown through drills?
In case of drill sowing, first irrigation should be applied 30-40 days after sowing  
What should be interval of irrigation for non-Bt cotton sown through drill?
Interval should be 12-15 days.  
What is recommended timing of last irrigation for non-Bt cotton sown through 
Last irrigation should be applied latest by 30th Sep  
What is optimal timing of last irrigation for cotton sowing on beds?
In case of cotton sowing on beds, last irrigation should be applied between 7-10 October.  
Why should we get soil water analyzed?
Soil analysis provides us information about any deficiency of nutrients which are required by crops. If such information is available, then appropriate proportion of fertilizers can be suggested to boost yield.  
How should be take samples of water?
At the time of taking water sample, tubewell is run for 30 minutes. Collection bottle must be ringed with the same tubewell water then fill the bottle directly from the delivery pipe.  
From where we should get water analyzed?
A network of soil and water testing laboratories has been established at district level. You can approach your lab located in your district headquarter for analysis of water or soil.  
Any variety which requires less water to avoid shortage of water?
FH-113, Ali Akbar-802  
Any effects of over-irrigation in Cotton crop?
Over growth of plants, difficulty in spraying pesticides resulting their ineffectiveness in controlling pests, rottening of bolls, lodging of plants.  
How can we reduce water use without effecting health of the crop? Top
It is recommended that after first irrigation at every alternate line of cotton plants, earth should be raised to form beds. This measure will help farmers save water requirements by 30-40 percent. Moreover, there are some additional benefits too: 1) better use of fertilizers; 2) optimal height of plants; 3) it is easy to apply spray especially in case of rain or irrigation; and 4) flower buds and bolls falling is reduced.  
Which variety of Cotton should we select? 
There are more than 20 approved varieties of cotton crop available in the market which can be used. But varieties include Ali-Akbar-703, Neelam-121, Sitara-008, I-R-3701, Ali Akbar-802, MG-6 and IR-1524  
Which variety? BT cotton or non- Bt cotton?
Approved Bt-varieties are recommended for cultivation. However, it is also recommended that at least 10 percent of the area should be devoted to non-Bt varieties so that Bt-varieties don’t lose their immunity against pest attacks.  
Is there any effect of sowing Cotton crop before time?
Yes, if a cotton variety is sown before recommended time, it can attract more attack from diseases and pests. Moreover, germination and growth can also be negatively affected.  
What is recommended distance between two lines of plants when drill is used for sowing Cottton?
Recommended distance is 2.5 ft. Later earth should be raised to form beds. This practice makes it easy to remove weeds and to do thinning.  
How much seed should be sown? 
Recommended seed rate for a specific variety It depends upon time of sowing. If crop sowing is delayed then recommended quantity of seed increases.  
What should be the source of reliable seed?
Punjab Seed Corporation or any well reputed registered seed corporation. Farmers can also use their own seed.  
What will be benefits of seed treatment?
Treatment of seed provides protection to seed from fungal attack. If it is not treated, likelihood of fungal attack increases. Secondly, it increases germination rate.  
When should we treat seed with fungicide and when with pesticide?
For early sown cotton seed should be treated with fungicide and pesticide whereas for seasonal sown cotton seed better be treated with pesticide.  
What should be dose of seed treatment?
Imidachloprid @ 5 g per kg seed or Thiomethoxam  at 3 g per kg seed.  
Merits and demerits of early sowing of Cotton?
Merits: Higher yield than seasonal cotton. Less use of Agri.  Low risk of CLCV.
Demerits: Less cropping intensity. Have to forego for wheat sowing. More investment than the seasonal cotton. Difficulties in maintaining plant population due to less germination at low temperatures. Higher pest pressure. More consumption of irrigation water, nitrogenous fertilizer, phosphatic & potassium fertilizer. Insect factory for seasonal crop. Seed treatment necessary. High seed rate.
What are Merits and demerits of seasonal sowing of Coton?
Merits: Higher cropping intensity. Less expenditure than the early sown cotton crop. Plant population can be maintained easily. Less quantity of cotton seed. Less pest pressure as compared to early cotton. Less consumption of nitrogenous, phosphatic, potassium fertilizer during the year. Wheat can be sown in standing cotton due to less growth. Crop rotation possible. Low weed intensity.
Demerits: Less yield than early sown cotton crop. Higher risk of CLCV. Less income than the early sown cotton crop.
When should we sow which variety of Cotton?

But. varieties1st March to 15th May (Ali Akbar-703, Sitara-008, Neelum-121, Tarzan-1, MNH-886, Neelum-141, FH-114, IR-3, CIM-598, Sitara-009, A-1)

1st April to 15th May (MG-6)
15th April to 15th May (IR-3701, Ali Akbar-802, IR-1524, GN Hybrid-2085)
None Bt. varieties
Core area
1st April to 31st May (CIM-496, CIM-506, CIM-554, MNH-786, CRSM-38, Alseemi H-151, CIM-573, SLH-317, BH-167, NIBGE-115, FH-942, Niab-852)
Non-Core area
1st April to 15th May (CIM-496, CIM-506, CIM-554, MNH-786, CRSM-38, Alseemi H-151, CIM-573, SLH-317, BH-167, NIBGE-115, FH-942, Niab-852)
Marginal areas
1st April to 15th May (CIM-496, CIM-506, CIM-554, MNH-786, CRSM-38, Alseemi H-151, CIM-573, SLH-317, BH-167, NIBGE-115, FH-942, Niab-852, Ravi, Roohi, FDH-170, FDH-228)
For Cotton Which method of sowing is better? Bed sowing or flat sowing?
Bed sowing is better than flat sowing however if tubewell water is unfit or unavailable then cotton should be sown with single row cotton drill on flat.  
What should be optimal plant to plant distance for a Btcotton variety? Top
In case of Bt cotton, if sowing has been done in March then recommended plan to plant distance is 12-15 inch, if it has been sown in April then distance should be 9-12 inch and if it has been done in May (1-15), then recommended plant to plant distance is 6-9 inch.  
What should be optimal plant to plant distance for a non-Bt cotton variety?
In case of non-Bt cotton, recommended plan to plant distance is 6-9 inch  
From where we can get seed of any cotton variety? Top
Directly from the stores of PSC/any registered seed corporation. Well reputed dealers of different seed companies in the markets.  
What should be optimal distance from plant to plant?
6-9 inches.   
Is there any equipment for hoeing, rotavating?
Rotavators are used for uprooting the roots and crop leftovers.   
What is cost of leveling?
It depends upon the difference in the level of the field as well as size of the plot.  
Should time span for sowing and harvesting be standardized?
Yes it needs to be standardized owing to variety of reasons including diseases / pest control etc.  
In Cotton, when should be perform the activity of thinning? 
Thinning activity should be completed within 20-25 days after sowing or before first irrigation or after dry hoeing  
How thinning should be performed?
Thinning should be performed by keeping in view that optimal plant to plant recommended distance is 6-9 inches.  
How to effectively control the insects?
Some insects and pests remain alive in one form or the other in the cotton fields or nearby host crops. If crop leftover are not properly destroyed and nearby host crops remain standing, then there are no chances that insects will be controlled. Ideally, after harvesting of the crop the land should be ploughed.
What are sucking pests?
Sucking pests include thrips, whitefly, jassid (sabztaila), mealybug and red cotton bug (surkhbhondi). These insects remain alive during the whole year. At the end of cotton crop, they shift to alternate host crops. It is recommended that proper insect control should be applied on the host crops like vegetables (bhindi, baingan, palak, kharbooza, chappankaddoo, tomato, and potato), and other crops (like sunflower).  
What is thrips? 
Thrips is a small sucking insect. It is of two types: 1) yellowish brown; and 2) black. Both types of thrips attack cotton crop. Male and child thrips are wingless while female thrips have long wings.    
How to identify thrips attack?
In cas of attack of thrips, lower side of the leaves shine like silver. Leave winkle up. In case of severe attack, plants start drying and dying.  
What are alternate host plants of thrips?
Alternate host plants for thrips are onion, cabbage (gobbhi), potato, tobacco, garlic (laihsan),tomat and cucumber (kheera). Thrips are found on cotton crop from May to September, on cabbage in October, and on onion and garlic from November to April.  
What is magnitude of damage by thrips?
8-10 adults/off springs per leave.  
How to identify mealybug?
Adult female mealybug looks light pink and is without wings. It si covered with a thick layer of white-powder. Its size is about 4 mm. Male adults are light brown in colour and have wings which are transparent. They are smaller in size. They are about only one mm in size.  
How to control mealybug?
For controlling Mealybug recommended medicines should be applied with an interval of three days. Effected plants should be sprayed in such a way that they are bathed with medicine. However, it should be noted that while controlling mealybug, farmers may unintentionally kill.  
What are recommended chemicals and their doses for controlling mealybug attack?
1. Chloro Pyre Phos 40 EC (800 ml / acre) or
2. Cholorophenophos 50 EC (800 ml / acre) or 
3. Carbosulfan (600 ml / acre)
Is there non-chemical method of controlling mealybugs?
Yes, there are methods like: 1. Keep monitoring the attack. Uproot the affected plants and burn them; 2. Remove weeds from the crop; 3. Do not keep alternate host plants near cotton crop; 4. Take action at early stage when attack is observed on few plants.  
What are alternate host plants for mealybugs?
Alternate host plants for mealybugs include sunflowers, itsit, raatki rani, oontchara, kaddu, and baingan.  
What is a useful insect?
Useful insects are those insects which kill those insects which are harmful to the crops. Besides the useful insects there are some parasites too which are useful. For example, Aenesios is a parasite which exists almost everywhere which lays eggs in the stomach of mealbug. It grows so rapidly that it destroys the mealybugs.  
How to control kapaskisurkhbhondi (red cotton bug)?
Kapaskisurkhbhondi is also known as Red cotton bug. It is emerging a major threat for the cotton crop. It sucks juice of bolls very rapidly. Even mature bolls are also not safe from its attack. It such case, it causes damage to such an extent that seed loses its capability to grow or yield oil. In attack of red cotton bugs, the bolls remain mostly closed or semi-closed. It also affects quality of lint. Lint develops pale colour and loses its market value.  
What is American Sundi?
American sundi also lives on vegetables like chapankaddu, peas, lady figure (bhindi), tomato and potato), and other crops like tobacco, sunflower and maize. Its population then shifts to cotton crop.  
And how to control American sundi?
Recommended pesticides and use of beneficial insects can help to get control on American sundi.  
What is aphid? (susttaila)
Aphids is also called as susttaila.
When does susttailaattack cotton?
Attack of susttaila is usually observed in the month of September.  
How can we identify susttaila?
Off-springs of Susttaila are yellowish green in colour. Insect may or may not have wings. Colour of insect turns into black at the end of crop. At this stage it has wings. Baby and adults are found beneath cotton plant leaves soft sprouts, where they suck juice of the plants.  
How does susttaila damage cotton plants?
Susttaila sucks juice of leaves and sprouts and release secretions on leaves and sprouts which develops fungus and turns leaves into black colour, which affects the process of photosynthesis.  
How can we identify whitefly?
Whitefly adults are tiny, moth-like insects. Their body is slightly light yellow colour covered with white wings. They have two pairs of white wings. They are sucking pests.
How does it cause damage to cotton plants?
Whitefly leaves sweet secretions which develop black colored fungus (uli). Affected parts of the plant turn blackish, which obstructs the process of photosynthesis. Eventually, plants get weaker and weaker. Its attack on the cotton gets severe in high temperature especially during July and August. Its attack on cotton crop gets weak in the months of September and October. Subsequently, it migrates to its alternate host plants.  
What are host plants of whitefly?
Host plants of whitefly include lady finger, tobacco, potato, brinjal, halwahkaddu, cucumber (kheera), tar, karaila, tomato, tainda, tarbooz, kharbooza, sunflower, chilies, krund, gardenia, and laintana.  
What is magnitude of damage by whitefly?
5 adults/off springs per leave.  
How can we control whitefly?
In order to control the attack of whitefly IGRs poisons are recommended. It is also recommended that spring crops should be harvested much earlier than cultivation of cotton crop.  
What is chatkabrisundi?
Chatkabrisundi continues its life by shifting to other crops like lady figure. Its life cycle can be interrupted by avoiding cultivation of bhindi close to cotton crop.  
When does gulabisundi(pink bollworm) attack?
Pink bollworm attack is severe when cotton crop has borne lot of flowers and bolls are being formed. It turns the petals of flowers by leaving its secretions on the margin of petals – it looks like madhani. Bolls affected from gulabisundi can hardly spilt open. Lint produced from such bolls is dull coloured and short stapple.   
Is there any alternate host plant for gulabisundi?
No. There is so alternate host plant for gulabisundi. It undergoes a stage of dormancy in winter. However, dormant gulabisundi gives birth to two generations – one in spring season and second in summer season (June-July). First generation can attack Bt cotton varieties which are grown early, while second generation attacks the non-Bt cotton varieties.  
How can we control gulabisundi?
Gulabisundi can be controlled by proper disposal of left-over bolls after last picking of cotton. It is recommended that farmers should let the goats graze in the cotton fields after last picking so that they eat away all left-over bolls. Cotton sticks should be removed from at least 6-inches below the soil so that cotton plants don’t sprout up in the spring season. Left over cotton sticks must be removed from the cotton fields before 31st January.  
What is lashkarisundi and how to control it?
Host crops of Lashkarisundi other than cotton include jantar, gobhi, palak, harnoli and arvi. If attack of lashkarisundi on any one of more than one of these crops cultivated near cotton fields is controlled, then its attack on cotton crop can also be controlled. It is also recommended that these crops should not be grown near cotton fields.  
What are mites?
Mites are different from other insects as insects have six legs while mites have eight legs. They are small in size and can be seen with the help of magnifying lens.   
What are the factors which lead to attack of mites?
Factors which promote attack of mites include prolonged dry and hot weather spell, shortage of canal water for irrigation, blind and non-judicial application of pesticides especially pyrethroid.  
How do mites attack?
Initially, mites attack in patches. But soon, they start spreading and eventually spread over entire field. In the initial stage of attack, they leave greenish and whitish yellow spots on the leaves. Besides, they develop silky nets of shining white colour.  
Any advice for protecting the crop from attack of termites?
Termites mostly attack the cotton crop at germination stage. Major source of termites is improper application of farm yard manure. It is recommended that decayed manure should be used in only winter season. Secondly, rotavator should be used to properly mix up the cop remnants with soil.  
What is sabztaila (Jassids)?
Sabztaila is also known as Jassid or chusttaila. Colour of insect is greenish yellow. It is very sensitive and can move left right forward or backwards with small sensitivity. Its population grows rapidly in high temperature and high humidity. Its attack is severe in August.   
Is there any alternate host plant for Sabztaila?
Yes, lady finger (bhindi) is its favourite alternate host plant. It is found commonly on lady finger plants from June to August.  
Will CLCV affect the growth of variety?
Yes. CLCV affects the growth of plants.  
What are host plants of leaf curl virus?
Host plants of leaf curl virus are maku, laih, hazardani, itsit, ak, rattan joat, garhal, pathakunda, sunkukrasakakai, gardenia, daptonia  
What weedicides should be used for controlling weeds in flat sowing?
Pandimethalin 33% EC 1.0-1.5 liter per acre.  
What weedicides should be used for controlling weeds in bed sowing?
Pendimethalin 33% EC 1.0 to 1.5 liter per acre
Acetachlor 50 EC 500 ml per acre
S-metolachlor 960 EC 800 ml per acre
What is post-emergence weedicides and their recommended dose?
Haloxyfop-p-ethyl (Percept 10.8% EC 350 ml per acre
Oxadiazon (Ronstar 25 EC) 1200 ml per acre
Is there any stress on crop by these weedicides?
There is minor stress of weedicides on cotton crop.  
Is there any special weedicides for Deela, Itsit, and grasses?
Oxadiazon (Ronstar 25 EC) 1200 ml per acre special weedicide for broad leaf weeds and grasses and Haloxyfop-p-ethyl (Percept 10.8% EC 350 ml per acre for grasses.  
At what stage, post-emergence weedicides be applied? 
Pest emergence weedicides can be applied at early growth stages of weeds before the establishment of weeds in cotton fields.  
Pest management in early crop to handle leaf curling?
Cotton Leaf Curl Virus can be managed with effective control of adult white fly with most effective pesticides.  
Why cotton turn black?
Lower leaves of cotton plant become black due to severe attack of white fly as black sootymold grow on excreta of white fly.  
Why cotton crop wilt suddenly? 
It is due to disease of cotton crop known as sudden death of cotton crop  
What are reasons of fruit shedding?
Water stress, fertilizer stress, nutrient deficiency, temperature fluctuation, excess irrigation, pest attack.  
Why old pesticides have become ineffective?
Insects and pests have gained greater immunity against the pesticides over a period of time. Hence, old brands of pesticides have become ineffective. There is another reason also. Farmers do not use pesticides judiciously, which also make them ineffective. 
Is there any new pesticide available for different pests?
Yes. New pesticides are known as IGR.  
Is there any Bt variety which is resistant against all pests?
No there is no any Bt. variety which has resistant against all pests.  
Why thrips and mites are becoming regular pests? 
Thrips and mites are becoming regular pests of cotton due to Bt cotton varieties and minimum rains during early crop growth period.  
How to manage cotton mealy bug?  Top
How is it spreading?  Wind, rain, irrigation water, farm workers, animals, farm machinery and infested plants help in the spread of Mealybug. All these factors should be wisely considered in the IPM of mealybug.  
How to manage Dusky cotton bug? 
Recommended chemical control may be applied on cotton and alternate host plants.  
When should we spray?
Crop should be sprayed in early and at boll opening stage with recommended insecticides.  
What are new plant protection products / new pesticides? Top
New pesticides are known as IGR.  
What are symptoms and control of Insects – sucking group (Thrips, Mites, Whitefly, and Jassid)?
Due to sap sucking plant health is adversely affected that leads to discoloration of leaves, shedding of fruiting parts and plant death in severe cases. Recommended insecticides at recommended dose rates may be applied alongwith other IPM components.  
What are modes of damage and management of Bollworms?
Bollworms damage fruiting bodies and cause direct yield losses.  
What is best technique of pesticide and weedicide application?
Through spraying with effective chemicals at right time.  
What is pest scouting?
Pest scouting is evaluation of infestation level/number of pests that cause economical loss.  
How to do pest-scouting?
For pest scouting 5 acres block should be selected. Sucking pests population be recorded from 20 randomly selected leaves from upper, middle and lower portion of the plant. Four random stick samples be taken to record incidence of bollworms and population of useful insects.   
Why there is low efficacy of pesticides?
Pesticides loose their efficacy due to resistance development, under dosing, wrong and repeated use, improper spraying time, rainfall etc.  
What is recommended dose of pesticides by stage of crop and timing of application?
Pesticides should be applied at recommended dose rate at all stages of the crop in early in the morning and late afternoon when wind velocity is low.  
How to ensure selection of quality of pesticides?
Field screening of insecticides prior to their commercial use.  
What is ideal technique of spraying?
Foliar spray.
What are recommended pre-emergence weedicides?
Pendimethalin 33%EC 1.0 to 1.5 liter per acre
Acetachlor 50ec 500 ml per acre
S. metalachlor 960EC 800 ml per acre
What are recommended post-emergence weedicides?
Haloxyfop-p-ethyl (Percept 10.8%EC 350 ml per acre
Oxadiazon (Ronstar 25EC) 1200 ml per acre.
Is there any alternate non-chemical means of controlling pests? 
Yes, biological and cultural methods  
What is IPM?
IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management.It is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management. IPM programs involve use of information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment, and selection appropriate combination of pest control methods.   
What are benefits of IPM?
IPM is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.