Mega field demonstration of PBKnot technology to manage Pink Bollworm held in North India

A mega field demonstration of a novel mating disruption PBKnot technology laid over 469 acres in 7 clusters spread in 7 districts of 3 States in the North cotton growing zone

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New Delhi: As part of “Project Bandhan – A Knot of PBW Protection”, the South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC), Jodhpur in collaboration with Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF), has laid out a mega field experiment cum demonstration of novel mating disruption PBKnot technology to study and manage devastating cotton devouring, monophagous & nocturnal pink bollworm (PBW) in farmers’ field in Northern cotton growing zone in Kharif 2022.
The project is supported by PI Foundation under the technical supervision of ICAR-CICR.
The large-scale field demonstration covers around 469 acres in 7 clusters each of over 65 acres spread in 7 districts of Bathinda, Mansa and Fazilka in Punjab; Sirsa &Fatehabad in Haryana and Ganganagar and Hanumangarh in Rajasthan representing the cotton growing geography of 3 States in the North cotton growing zone.
The mega demonstration includes 8 intensive on-farm training programs to educate and train more than 650 farmers and farm labourers in all 7 geo-taggedmega cotton clusters in 7 districts with the structured tagging of PBKnot thread, intensive training of field staffs, local volunteers and state coordinators to weekly collect adult PBW moth data, rosette flower and green boll damage in order to study pest dynamics and suggest control measures throughout the season as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) approach.
In addition to tagging PBKnot in 7 clusters, the Project Bandhan distributed and installed large numbers of pheromone traps for monitoring both PBKnot treated/control clusters and neighbouring farmers and covering ‘cotton leftover’ and ‘cotton stalk’ by mosquito nets for trapping adult PBW moth before mating and hatching in all 7 PBKnot clusters.
“Mating disruption is an innovative pheromone-based technique that interferes with the reproductive cycle of PBW in such a manner that the population levels are significantly reduced and crop damage is diminished. The PBKnot dispenser releases sex pheromones to prevent male moths from finding females and mating, thus disrupting the reproductive cycle. The mating disruption has emerged as a powerful tool to manage pests such as PBW”, said Dr CD Mayee, President, South Asia Biotechnology Centre, Jodhpur.
“PI foundation has introduced this innovative mating disruption technology in collaboration with its partners from Japan for Indian cotton growers. This technology is widely tested in India in various location from last 3 years and was found to be effective for PBW management. Central Insecticide board (CIB) has granted registration for sale in India in the year 2020 for effective Pink Bollworm management. Last year PI had successfully conducted demonstrations of this technology under the technical supervision of CICR Nagpur in 300 + acres”, said Prashant Hegde, CEO of PI Industries Ltd.
The pink bollworm incidence on Bt cotton in North India was observed for the first time around ginning factories cum oil extraction units in Jind in Haryana and Bhatinda in Punjab during 2018-19. This was mainly due to transport of resistant PBW larvae along with cotton seed being brought from Central and Southern zone for oil extraction purpose. Bhatinda, Mansa in Punjab and Sirsa, Fatehabad and Hisar in Haryana were worst affected by Pink Bollworm during 2021 season. The losses of around 30% were estimated by Punjab government. “Project Bandhan using mating disruption has been initiated by South Asia Biotechnology Centre at seven locations in North zone and is expected to demonstrate the effectiveness of this environment friendly technology as a component of integrated pest management(IPM) for dreaded pink bollworm”, said Dr Dilip Monga, ex head of Regional Research Station, ICAR-Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Sirsa, Haryana.
“This year, ACF collaborated with South Asia Biotechnology Centre to pilot the PBKnot technology to control the pests in cotton growing areas of Punjab and Rajasthan. The PBKnot technology has a potential to control the pests by disrupting the mating of Pink Boll Worm adults. We are hopeful that this technology will emerge as an effective pest control and will be an effective and handy method for cotton cultivators”, said Rajesh Suthar, Programme Coordinator of Ambuja Cement Foundation
Like India, the USA cotton industry suffered from pink bollworm for more than 100 years. Realizing the destructive nature of PBW, the United State launched country wide PBW eradication program in 2002 and by 2018 declared the country free from devastating pink bollworm. “Mating disruption was one of the key technologies along with male sterile moth technology to eradicate cotton pink bollworm from the USA in a coordinated multi-state area wide program between 2002 to 2018”, said Bhagirath Choudhary, Founder & Director of South Asia Biotechnology Centre, who is leading aCountry-wide Pink Bollworm Management Strategy and Scientific Outreach in Kharif 2022-23, dubbed as “Project Bandhan – A Knot of PBW Protection” under the technical supervision of ICAR-CICR.