OPMAS Orientation Training for Project Staff at KVK Ahmednagar
An orientation training programme regarding OPMAS on Bt cotton was organized at KVK Ahmednagar in the month of July 2014 for the SRA, field assistants and data entry operator newly selected under the project. The project staff was briefed with the objectives, operational guidelines, village selection criteria and beneficiaries to be selected under this project. An exposure of field assistants was arranged on one early sown Bt cotton plot for identification of pests and beneficial on Bt cotton. The training also included the whole package of IPM to be implemented in Bt cotton along with recording of observations on pest data sheets. Similarly importance of weekly village advisories was also discussed along with circulation of advisories in all the selected villages through extension personnel, farmer�s clubs, SHGs, village advisory boards etc. The project staff has been asked to select the villages as per guidelines and collect the primary data of the selected Bt cotton growing villages before starting the actual project work.
2. Prolonged dry spell in Ahmednagar district
This year monsoon received late and sowing of Bt cotton completed in the month of August. After that only light rainfall received in that month and it was followed by long dry spell from 10th September onward. The vegetative growth of Bt cotton of good but the reproductive growth is hampered due to severe water stress. Heavy square dropping has also been observed in rain fed situation whereas in irrigated situation the farmers are giving protective irrigation to the crop
3. Severe drought situation in Ahmednagar district
In all the blocks of Ahmednagar district, the drought has visibly destroyed Bt cotton and the production of this crop is expected to go down due to scarcity of water. This is now the 2nd consecutive year of severe water crisis in parts of Ahmednagar. In some villages the crops have literally been burnt due to the scorching heat and lack of water. The is scanty rainfall during this year affected the square formation and boll development stages of Bt cotton and thus there was severe square dropping as well as stunted crop growth this year. The situation is so bad and majority of the Bt cotton growers from rain fed area will be worst affected due to this severe drought condition. Only few Bt cotton growers from irrigated area will get some yield as they have given protective irrigation during the dry spell. The production of Bt cotton will be hampered by almost to 50 to 60% due to serious drought situation in Ahmednagar district
4. NCIPM Scientist Visit to Bt cotton fields under OPMAS project in Ahmednagar district
Dr.R.K Tanwar, Principal Scientist and S.P.Singh from NCIPM New Delhi have recently visited Ahmednagar center to review the situation of OPMAS project on Bt cotton. They visited the Bt cotton fields in Kopargaon and Rahata tehsils of Ahmednagar district and interacted with the farmers. This year there is severe drought situation and hence the growth of Bt cotton in rain fed area is badly hampered. The drought has almost destroyed some of the Bt cotton fields in light soils. During the current year there will be hardly 3 to 4 quintals yield per acre in rain fed area. They also visited few villages from irrigated area and observed that the farmers could save their Bt cotton crop by providing protective irrigation. The scientists conducted the group meeting with Bt cotton growers from two villages where the farmers shared their experience of using sticky traps and stem application of imidacloprid. The Bt cotton growers mentioned that the technique of stem application with imidacloprid proved highly effective in managing sucking pets during early crop growth stage. Similarly the concept of using yellow and blue sticky traps is being widely adopted by majority of the Bt cotton growerws from kopargaon block and the practice has become common since last 5 years. The sticky traps are also quite effective in managing white flies, thrips and jassids on Bt cotton. Thus with the adoption of stem application of imidacloprid and sticky traps, the farmers could minimize 50 per cent sprays of chemical pesticides with satisfactory control of sucking pests.
5. Field day on Bt cotton under OPMAS
Under OPMAS project a field day was organized on Bt cotton in Apegaon village of Kopargaon tehsil. Almost 50 Bt cotton growers participated in this field day where they were shown the impact of IPM technology against sucking pests on Bt cotton. The IPM components like seed treatment with Trichoderma ,trap cropping with maize, stem application of imidacloprid, installation of sticky traps and pheromone traps,application of karanj oil and need based sprays of chemicals were adopted. As per the feedback from the IPM farmer, the stem application of imidacloprid, use of karanj oil and installation of sticky traps proved highly effective during initial crop growth stage. With the adoption of IPM technology he could reduce 50% cost of plant protection. Similarly the infestation of jassids and white flies was too much lower than the neighboring plots in the village. The other farmers from the neighboring villages also shared their experiences on results IPM in Bt cotton