06 January 2023, New Delhi: A severe infestation of Tobacco Caterpillar was reported last week in the Depalpur area of Madhya Pradesh. This created panic among the wheat farmers and the Agriculture Ministry in New Delhi. The wheat crop is of high economic importance as the government is planning the export of wheat in the current season and cannot afford to increase MRL (Minimum Residue Level) due to the excessive use of agrochemicals
A team of scientists from the Central Integrated Pest Management Centres (CIPMCs) inspected the wheat crop affected by tobacco caterpillars in villages of the Depalpur area.
Dr. K. Ravi, Additional Director, and Dr. S. A. Jayaprakash, Plant Protection Officer visited multiple wheat fields to assess the area. The team mentioned that the infestation was found more in the Tejas variety of wheat.
Dr. K. Ravi told Krishak Jagat, “We have asked the Agriculture Department to monitor the crop closely, if possible twice a week to check on the infestation. Right now the tobacco caterpillar has crossed its 2nd stage of the lifecycle and will now stop eating leaves entering its 3rd stage of the lifecycle. Also, now ear formation in wheat has started and it is best to avoid any agrochemical spray. This will also allow predatory birds to feed on the caterpillar.”
Dr. Ravi assured that the second stage of the life cycle of the tobacco caterpillar is over and now in the third stage the caterpillar will not eat the crop. He also suggested reducing the use of urea.
The team of scientists confirmed the Central and State Government is considering exporting wheat variety and so it is best to avoid the use of agrochemicals at this stage. The preliminary report of the inspection here has been sent to the Ministry of Agriculture in New Delhi. The affected area will be visited again to check on the crop. The team advised using Quinalphos 25 EC 800 ml/ha or Emamectin Benzoate 12.5 g AI/ha if there is a heavy infestation in the crop.
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