Opium Poppies Need Pesticide Applications

Opium

Opium Poppies

The opium poppy is cultivated in different parts of the world such as Tasmania, India, Pakistan, Slovakia, France, Spain, Yugoslavia and Italy.  The fruits of the poppy are rounded capsules. The liquid (milky latex) obtained after lancing the capsules contains opiates which are dried to produce raw opium, used for processing medicinal drugs such as codeine and morphine. The commercial production of opium poppies is adversely affected by uncontrolled weeds, insects and disease organisms. Commercial growers rely on pesticide applications as described in a recent article about poppy growing in Slovakia.

“The cropping system of poppy has seen important changes in recent years. In the past, growing this crop required a great deal of manual labor connected with singling, hoeing and particularly capsule collecting. At present, all operations of the large scale cropping system, from sowing to harvest, are fully mechanized. Registered pesticides are used to control weeds, diseases and pests.

Pre-emergent herbicides Callisto 480 SC (mesotrione), or Lentipur 500 FW + Command 36 CS (chlortoluron + clomazone) are applied within 3 days after sowing. Due to slow initial growth, the post-emergent application of herbicide in growth phase of 4-6 true leaves is usually necessary.

Protection against poppy root weevil is realized through seed treatment with Cruiser OSR preparation. …A dangerous pest of poppy is poppy weevil, against which the protection is aimed at the time of “hook stage”. Among the registered insecticides, Mospilan 20 SP (acetamiprid) and Nurelle D (chlorpyrifos + cypermethrin) are used.

Poppy downy mildew and poppy fire are considered to be the most dangerous diseases of poppy, in conditions of the Slovak Republic. Occurrence of downy mildew during the leaf rosette period is suppressed by seed treatment. …In the phase of stem elongation, application of Acrobat MZ WG (dimethomorph +mancozeb) is possible. In the “hook stage”, Discus (kresoxym-methyl) or Bumper Super (prochloraz + propiconazole) are used to suppress poppy fire on both leaves and capsules.”

Names: Fejer, J., and I. Salamon.
Affiliation: Presov University in Presov.
Title: Agro-Technology of the Poppy: Large-Scale Cultivation in Slovakia.
Source: Acta Hort. 2014. 1036:181-186.

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Organic Cotton Acreage Down 99% in California

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The US produces about 1% of the world’s organic cotton with most of the production in low-wage countries such as India and Turkey. In the early 1990s, there was tremendous interest in organic cotton-growing in California and many acres were planted. However, high costs for labor-intensive tasks, especially weeding, resulted in clothing companies turning to the foreign producers.

“Organic cotton production reached its height in the late 1990’s in California’s Central Valley with as much as 20,000 acres being grown. Hundreds of textile companies began using organic cotton in their products. (Hanna Anderson, American Apparel, Norm Thompson, Nike, Patagonia, Mountain Equipment Coop, IKEA, Eddie Bauer, to name a few).

Patagonia and Mountain Equipment Coop fully converted their cotton products to 100% organic. However, by 2000, it soon became apparent that organic cotton produced overseas could be grown at about half the price and so the market for domestic organic all but disappeared, with only about 100 acres of organic cotton being grown in California in 2004, 2005 and 2006.”

Authors: Gibbs, M.
Affiliation: Sustainable Cotton Project of Community Alliance with Family Farmers.
Title: Creating Market Demand For Biologically Based Growing Systems in Cotton.
Source: 2007 Beltwide Cotton Conferences. New Orleans, Louisiana. January 9-12, 2007.

Labor Shortages on Indian Tea Plantations Result in Need for Herbicides

Scraping Weeds In Tea Fields

Scraping Weeds In Tea Fields

Historically, the most common method of weed control on tea plantations in India was to manually scrape the weeds off the surface of the soil. However, this is a labor-intensive method and needs to be repeated at regular intervals. The paucity of labor in the tea gardens of south India has made weeding a difficult exercise. Presently, tea growers rely heavily on herbicides to control weeds due to labor shortages for manual weeding.

“Grassy weeds reduce the productivity of tea by 21 per cent, while broad-leaved weeds accounts for 9-12 per cent. Weeds remove substantial amount of nutrients and moisture from the soil besides increasing the incidence of pests and diseases in crop by serving as alternate host.

Herbicides, as a tool for controlling weeds in tea plantations is very much popular and have been widely used ever since their introduction – primarily due to their cost effectiveness, efficiency in controlling diverse weed flora and less labour intensiveness, etc. Tea plantations alone use about 20 per cent of the total quantity of herbicides used in India.

Mechanical and manual control of weed are costly, time consuming, laborious and sometimes injurious to feeder roots of young tea plants in comparison to herbicidal control of weeds. Such methods are also limited by non-availability of labours in peak season.These methods require about 75 man days/ha annually for young tea and 35 man days for mature tea while, 15 man days/ha for young tea and 8 man days for mature tea in the first year are required for herbicidal control of weeds excluding the cost of herbicides.

At present, herbicides worth over Rs.7 crores are being used by tea industry of North East. India alone is expected to increase further in view of acute shortage of labours in time and escalating wages of labour.”

Authors: Rajkhowa, D. J., et al.
Affiliation: National Research Centre for Weed Science.
Title: Weed management in tea.
Source: NRC for Weed Science, Jabalpur.2005. Pgs. 3-13.

Research Backs Up India’s Herbicide Boom

Handweeding Rice In India

Handweeding Rice In India

The India herbicide market is experiencing a growth spurt of epic proportions- growing by 35% in 2012. The increased use of herbicides in India is being spurred on by the lack of labor for hand weeding. The younger generation is losing interest in farming due to the availability of higher paying jobs in the fast growing industrial, business and construction sectors. Research by Indian agronomists backs up the positive contribution that herbicides make in terms of labor use, yield and profits.

“The objective of this study was to compare the profitability of farms that are using herbicides as one of their control measures and otherwise… For farms using herbicides, the analysis showed that labour usage was about 43, 33 and 80 hours lower in paddy rice, maize and sugarcane crops, respectively. Yields in farms using herbicides were also higher by about nine quintals in paddy rice, four quintals in maize and 100 quintals in sugarcane. Profits were also higher where herbicides were applied. It was concluded that application of herbicides to control weeds in paddy rice, maize and sugarcane is an efficient way of weed control in terms of labour use, yield and profits.”

Authors: Govindarajan, K., et al.
Affiliation: Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Title: Impact analysis of integrated weed management under irrigated eco-systems in cultivation of tropical crops in Tamil Nadu, Southern India.
Source: 2nd International Conference on Novel and sustainable weed management in arid and semi-arid agro-ecosystems. September 7-10, 2009. Agricultural University of Athens

Insecticide Use on Brinjal Reduces Poverty in Rural Areas of India

Brinjal, also known as eggplant or aubergine, is native to India. A total of 1.4 million small family farms grow brinjal, which provides a steady income from market sales for most of the year. The biggest threats to brinjal are insects that can damage 95% of the crop. Worms feeding inside the fruit result in destruction of the fruit tissues. The feeding tunnels become clogged with excreta. This makes even slightly damaged fruit unfit for marketing.

“Brinjal is the most common, popular and principal vegetable crop grown in many geographical parts in India. … Brinjal is mainly cultivated on small family farms and it is a source of cash income for resource-poor farmers. … Farmers use large quantities of chemical insecticides singly or in combination to get blemish free fruits, which fetch premium prices in the market.”

Author: S. Dhas and M. Srivastava
Affiliation: Laboratory of Entomology, Department of Biology, Government Dungar College, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India
Title: An assessment of Carbaryl residues on brinjal crop in an agricultural field in Bikaner, Rajasthan (India)
Publication: Asian Journal of Agricultural Science. 2010. 2(1):15-17.

 

 

Organic Wheat Growing a Threat to Food Security in India

There are a small number of organic wheat growers in India. These growers do not use herbicides to control weed populations and, as a result, organic wheat yields are 37% lower than growers who use herbicides. A recent in-country study looked at the implications for food security in India…

“The study has clearly brought out that though the organic wheat cultivation has been found much more profitable for the growers in the study area, the significant reduction in its productivity level poses a serious challenge in term[s] of food security of the nation.”

Authors: Inder Pal Singh and D.K. Grover
Affiliation: Agro Economic Research Centre, Punjab Agricultural University
Title: Economic viability of organic farming: An empirical experience of wheat cultivation in Punjab.
Publication: Agricultural Economics Research Review. 2011. 24:275-281.