With the paddy and cotton crops under seasonal attack of leaf folder and sucking insects, respectively, farmers have to ensure that they treat their crop with the correct nature of insecticide and the correct quantity.
However, government officials and farmers claim that farmers are using unrecommended insecticides, perhaps influenced by the aggressive campaign of the manufacturers and the commission agents. This is a waste of their money and is also poisoning the environment.
Farmers are not only applying double or triple dosages of the recommended insecticides but also making their own combinations using trial and error.
The recommendations for cotton are being used on paddy and vice-versa. "Combinations of chemicals are usually not recommended because they may neutralise each other," said Baljinder Singh Brar, block agriculture officer, Kotkapura.
Jagga Singh, a farmer from village Behbal Khurd, says: I am spraying 250 ml propiconozole, a fungicide, about 100 gram of Thiamethoxam (recommended to control sucking pests on cotton). I am also using about 600 ml of Trizophos. I am spraying all these by mixing them on my cotton crop."
However, his recommended medication for crop is totally rubbished by an expert. "Propiconozole is not recommended on cotton as it is a fungicide. The recommended dosage of Thiamethoxam is only 40 gram.
The farmer could only use either trizophos 600 ml per acre to control white fly. At the most, other recommended insecticide can be used to control sucking pests on cotton," says Amandeep keshav, project director, agriculture technology management agency, Faridkot.
The farmer, however, maintained that he had been following the same medication pattern for over two years on the recommendation of a manufacturer.
"Overdosage of insecticide and unrecommened application of insecticides may lead to a serious problem. The next generation of insects which is coming up with the passage of time might develop so much resistance that it will be difficult to control these by the recommended dosages," said Bhupesh Joshi, deputy project director ATMA, Faridkot
"Private companies are exploiting the mentality of the farmers. Farmers want immediate results with 100% destruction of the insects. The manufacturers are recommending far greater dosages, even in combinations. Sometimes, there is a possibility that some products could have more of a particular salt and have a better effect," Joshi adds.
Experts said that 100% destruction of insects by high dosages of insecticides is not desired because it also upsets the balance between the friendly and harmful insects.
"The poisons should only be used when the attack of insects on a crop crosses the economic threshold level," says Amandeep keshav.
"We always advise the farmers to use only recommended dosages of insecticides or fungicides. However, farmers seem to think that there is some sort of direct link between the dose and the effect, especially if the medicine is not expensive," said Sukhwant Singh Sran, chief agriculture officer Faridkot.