Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Jan 04, 2002
Agri-Biz & Commodities
Bio-tech & Genetics
Bt cotton trials extended
COIMBATORE, Jan. 3
BT cotton trials have been extended to 11 locations in central and southern zones of the country during the current cotton season from 6 locations last year.
The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), which has accorded the approval for conducting the trials, has set up a monitoring committee for the two zones, headed by the Director of CICR, Nagpur, for the central zone and the Project Coordinator and Head of CICR, Coimbatore, Dr K. Venugopal, for the southern zone.
Dr Venugopal told Business Line that the final yield data would be available by mid-January for the central zone and a month later for the southern zone states. ``Detailed economics will be worked out on the efficacy of Bt cotton before the end of February,'' he added.
He said there were reports of initial damage to the crop in Nandyal district in Andhra Pradesh due to excess rain and flooding, but the crop was revived thereafter. ``In all the other 10 locations, the crop is good,'' he added.
He said the approval for conducting the trials was received in June only and once again it was late for the Northern growing areas of Punjab, Haryana and Ganganagar tracts in Rajasthan, since the sowing season commenced from April 15 and was completed by May 15. The Bt trials were conducted as per the protocol during the current cotton year, he added.
He said the trails were taken up in greater detail this year, encompassing various aspects such as agronomy, entomology and pathology.
The Bt seeds have been made available by Mahyco (Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company)-Monsanto and they include Mech 162, Mech 184 and Mech 12.
Stating that the trials had been taken up on time, when the incidence of the bollworm infestation was significant in a majority of the locations, he said there were clear indications that Bt cotton helped in controlling the bollworm effectively, although a couple of more sprays was needed wherever the bollworm infestation had crossed the economic threshold levels.
To a query on yield, he said there was not much difference in yields between the Bt and non-Bt cottons, though there was a marginal increase for all Bt cotton hybrids. However, the Bt Cotton hybrids meant to control the bollworm would take care of bollworm only. For sucking pests, appropriate control measures such as seed treatment, would help in limiting the number of sprays. The Mech 12 hybrid was susceptible to sucking pest, he added.
Further, the Bt hybrids showed early maturity in all locations, ranging from 15 days to a month. ``Since the early formed bolls are retained, the crop did not become vegetative as in checks. Savitha, NHH 144 and DHH 11 have been raised as local and national checks," he added.
Referring to reduced sprays for Bt cotton, he explained that the central and southern zones experienced wet spell in certain years during boll formation. Heavy rainfall caused serious damage to the crop, and the pesticide and chemicals became ineffective. ``Under these circumstances, Bt is the efficient tool, as the in-built toxin helps in sustaining the yield,'' he said.
He expressed the hope that the Centre would push the Bt cotton technology forward, especially because China had taken the lead in cotton production while India had not got over the trial phase yet.
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail
Stories in this Section
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | Home |
Copyright © 2002, The
Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of
The Hindu Business Line