Punjab agriculture department is going to launch a campaign to kill rats across the state to protect rabi crops.
After the whitefly attack turned the last kharif season into a disaster, the state government, it seems, has decided to go all out to restrict rodents from damaging rabi crops, particularly wheat.
For this, the two-day campaign from January 12-13 is being launched to poison rodents in the fields.
As per available information, farmers will be provided zinc phosphide to spray near mud holes in order to save their crop from further damage.
Bathinda chief agriculture officer Kabul Singh Sandhu said they had been receiving multiple complaints from rural areas about serious attacks of rats on wheat crop.
“These rodents feed less on the grains but break the stem of the standing crop by chewing, which results in damage,” Sandhu said.
He added that farmers will be provided zinc phosphide powder at village and block levels on 80% subsidy.
“Moreover, demonstrations regarding proper use of zinc phosphide will be given to farmers. The treatment can help them protect their crop from further damage,” Sandhu said.
He further said the use of zinc phosphide had no effect on the health of the crop.
“Though we have no data on loss wrecked by rodents, but major damage to wheat and sugarcane crop has been noted over the years,” said Sandhu.
Notably, wheat crop sown with zero tillage technique was more prone to attack by rodents.
It has become a headache for farmers to control the population of rodents, which has necessitated this campaign.
Bachittar Singh, a farmer from Phul village, said they had earlier adopted many ‘desi nukhse’ (home remedies) to control the menace but the rodents continued to damage their crop.
“The population of rats is only increasing, inflicting severe damage to standing crop,” he said.