TIRUCHY: Following the fall armyworm (FAW) scare, there has been a slight drop in maize cultivation in the district this season with many farmers opting for cotton instead. Though the Agriculture department has taken preventive measures to handle FAW attacks, maize cultivation dropped to 9,000 hectares instead of the expected 13,000 hectares. In preventing FAW attacks, the Agriculture department has come up with new biocontrol agents and chemicals which were demonstrated on Tuesday in Manachanallur block.
After having suffered the previous season due to the FAW invasion, farmers showed hesitation in cultivating maize. This season, around 3 per cent of thr maize crop has been infested with FAW, enough for farmers to turn to cotton cultivation instead.
Cotton this season is being cultivated on over 10,000 hectares and the figure could increase once monsoon arrives.
Speaking to TNIE, R Santhana Krishnan, Joint Director, Agriculture department, Tiruchy, said, “Due to excessive humidity, FAW invaded a portion of the maize crop in the district. Earlier this month, we found about 3 per cent of the maize crops were attacked by FAW. Though the local variety of the worm has been eradicated by early summer ploughing, the current invasion is of FAWs from Andhra Pradesh.”
He added that in order to eradicate FAWs, the department has come up with a plan to do monsoon spraying with bio control agents and chemicals.
He said in the first phase, the department would be spraying all-new fertilisers on 1,950 hectares in the district and the rest would be sprayed later as a precautionary measure.