Maximising Kharif Crop Yields: The Role of Crop Protection & Nutrition in Sustainable Cultivation

Maximising Kharif Crop Yields: The Role of Crop Protection & Nutrition in Sustainable Cultivation
Addressing the crop loss due to pests and diseases in the kharif season requires judicious application of crop protection products at appropriate time periods of cultivation cycle, Rajesh Aggarwal writes…

With the kharif season in full motion, farmers in India are on the lookout after striving in the last two months to ensure they get the best yield from the farming season. As an important sector to India’s livelihood and economy — contributing around 18.3 per cent of the country’s GVA — it is understandable that agriculture is done all year round. Whether it is Rabi crops or Kharif crops, improving crop yields is a task that farmers, crop scientists, academia, crop protection industry and the government must tackle decisively.

The role of crop protection and nutrition in ensuring sustainable cultivation and increased crop yield is yet to be fully maximised in India, especially with regard to Kharif crops, namely paddy, cotton, maize, soybean and groundnut. In the monsoon season, the major challenge to yield is pest and disease infestation along with weeds. Dealing with insects and diseases using the right products can help bolster yield potential significantly, and increase productivity and revenue for the farmer and the country at large.

Crop protection in Kharif season

India is a major global producer of some of the crops produced in the Kharif monsoon season, including rice, cotton, soybean, maize and groundnut. However, these are some of the crops that are more prone to pests and diseases. A recent peer-reviewed study revealed that 25 per cent of yield losses in rice production in India are caused by pests and diseases, amounting to revenue losses of up to US$30 billion. Insect pests like stem borers, fall armyworms, and others, have also been identified as major yield destroyers in maize production in India.

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The story is similar in groundnut and cotton cultivation where pests like the pink bollworm in the early period of cotton cultivation continue to wreak havoc. A survey by the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana released in June alerted scientists to be alert to the likely incidence of pink bollworm, among other pests, in cotton this season. Addressing these challenges in Kharif crops requires the judicious application of crop protection products at appropriate time periods of the crop cultivation cycle. This will help to significantly reduce infestation and boost the yield.

Achieving sustainability in Kharif crop cultivation

As important as crop protection and nutrition are, using them judiciously is equally important so that they are safe for the crop, the soil nutrient and structure, and the environment at large. This is why there has been steady advocacy for the use of organics and biologicals as well. We feel that a combination of biological and chemical crop protection and nutrition range is the key to sustainable farming. Sustainable practice in Kharif cultivation will ensure that yield is not only enhanced during harvest, but that the soil and surrounding environment is also healthy for future crops.

As the nation continues to strive towards increased yield for Kharif crops, it is important for farmers to be aware and responsible for the type of products they use and how they use them, while also adopting other green initiatives to protect the planet.

(Rajesh Aggarwal is the Managing Director of Insecticides (India) Limited. Views expressed in the article are author’s own.)

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About Rajesh Aggarwal

Rajesh Aggarwal is the Managing Director of Insecticides (India). The company is one of the premier names in crop protection industry. Today, with more than 120 formulations, Insecticides (India) manufactures all types of insecticides, weedicides, fungicides and PGRs for all types of agricultural crops and households.

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