BHAWANIPATNA: Now, farmers of the State will be able to cultivate two insect-resistant and high yielding cotton varieties. Developed by Bhawanipatna research station of Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) under All-India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project, the two varieties of non-Bt cotton will have a series of advantages over conventional cotton. The two varieties - BS 279 and BS 30 - will ensure profit in the form of higher yield, quality fibre, minimum cultivation cost, water use efficiency, insecticide efficacy and minimum pesticide usage. Above all, the new varieties are resistant to sucking pests, a problem still associated with even Bt cotton.
Bhawanipatna unit, operating under the Regional Research and Technology Transfer Station, has recently released the two varieties for use by the State farmers. So far, 20 varieties of cotton developed by the centre have been sent to different research stations for a coordinated multi-location trials. Agronomist Bhawani Shankar Naik, who is in-charge of the centre, said the two new varieties were successful in all tests. While BS 279 is resistant to sucking pests including jassid, BS 30 is also insect-resistant.
The yield of these two varieties is 20 to 25 quintals per hectare and farmers can keep their own seed for the next cultivation. Six more varieties of cotton are in the pipeline to be submitted for release and 34 varieties have been tested as part of coordinated multi-location trial, he said.
Set up in 2003, the centre conducts intensive research on different cotton varieties and hybrids suitable for the region and transfers technologies to farmers and line departments. It is one of the 21 research stations in the country under CICR and only station for cotton in Odisha. It is functioning in a farm field spread over five acres of land.
However, the centre is struggling due to dearth of research hands, manpower and other facilities. While the centre requires three scientists, Breeder, Agronomist and Entomologist, there is no full time breeder and one castor breeder has been given additional charge of breeding. Similarly, out of three field technicians to assist the scientists, only one field technician is available.Subject Matter Specialist Narayan Upadhaya said the research centre needs upgradation for cotton coverage on more than one lakh hectare. At present, cotton is being cultivated on over 1.5 lakh ha in the State and Kalahandi district’s share is 58,395 ha, he added.