The latest spell of rainfall in Nagapattinam district has restored hope for satisfactory yield to the predominantly debt-ridden farmers who had taken up paddy cultivation on a large scale.
The previous spell of rainfall had prompted the farmers to take a heavy plunge into paddy cultivation with the hopes of good precipitation in the monsoon months. Overcoming the economic setback caused by continuous crop losses and Cyclone Gaja, farmers in the district have taken up samba/ thaladi cultivation in nearly 1.31 lakh hectares in consonance with the production target of 5.75 lakh metric tonnes.The latest spell of rainfall came at a time when the Agriculture department had its fingers crossed over fears of spread of leaf blast.
Urea mixed with gypsum was applied in the form of top dressing only 15 to 20 days back, and there were indications of the leaf blast due to the dew conditions in Oorkudi, Iluppur, Eravancherry and a few other areas in Keezhvelur block.“Farmers were haunted by the fear of monsoon failure combined with the consequences of the dew that provide a conducive environment for the growth of the fungus (magnaporthe oryzae) causing the leaf blast that would result in substantial loss in production But for the timely rainfall, the paddy crops would have suffered widespread damage in the district,” S. Paneerselvam, Joint Director (In-Charge), Agriculture, Nagapattinam, said.
“The extent of rainfall is enough for the farmers to get on to the second stage of top dressing with potash. However, there is no room for complacency as the farmers need to be sensitised to the fact that rampant application of fertilizers and pesticides in anticipation of good yields can turn counterproductive,” Mr Paneerselvam said. “Pesticides are applied with the purpose of stopping the damage caused to the crop by brown plant hopper. After years of study, it has now been established that brown plant hopper is a pesticide induced pest and would keep multiplying”, Mr. Paneerselvam said, explaining: “The pest is bound to be found in the paddy crop, but at a manageable level since it gets eliminated substantially by predators. But, application of pesticides would cause its proliferation, resulting in reduction in yield.”
(source : The Hindu)