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Maharashtra’s cotton crop suffers demand and supply on fungal attacks

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Since 2017 the pink bollworm (PBW) attacks have been in the public talk and taken care of the crop in their best capacity but for boll rot or grey mildew not enough attention been paid.

Cotton crop in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region,  has fallen prey to the fungal attack of Grey mildew which has already been suffering from pink bollworm (PBW) attack and boll rot.The State Agriculture Department has estimated about 50% of the crop has been affected by this sever pathogen attacks.

An official said the grey mildew fungal attack can be deadly. In a single season, the pathogen can spread across field crops repeatedly by the fungus. The estimated losses can be as high as 25%.

After the attack, the leaves of the standing plant start to shed affecting photosynthesis process of the plant.  In Maharashtra, the grey mildew is commonly known as ‘dahiya’ as the fungus resembles the sprinkled curd on the leaves.

Worse than pink bollworm (PBW) attack

Officials said that, If the PBW infestation happens partially to the cotton boll, the farmer can still save his crop from rest of the infestation; but when  boll rot and grey mildew attack they fully destroy the plant.

In some part of the districts, about 10-20% of the crop has already been affected by PBW, while boll rot and grey mildew have spread another 15-20% .

The official also pointed out that since 2017 the PBW attacks have been in the public talk and taken care of the crop in their best capacity but for boll rot or grey mildew not enough attention been paid.

Moisture content

Very heavy rainfall in September and October is the main cause of infection that had increased the moisture content in the climate leading to the fungal attacks.

Despite significant decline in cotton production and due to carry forward stock of over 100 lakh bales (of 170 kg each) from the last season, traders are not in hurry to buy the available cotton.

In Akot APMC market of Akola, the modal price on this week was ₹5,400 per quintal, while the Minimum Sales Price (MSP) is at ₹5,515.  Akola is the 3rd largest city in the Vidarbha region and Akot is one of the largest markets for cotton trade in Maharashtra.

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