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Weeds cause annual crop loss of $11 billion in India, says study

Insects, diseases and weeds are the three main biological factors for losing crop yield and causing economic loss to farmers.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2018 09:09 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Weeds,Crop loss,Farmers
A farmer ploughs fields on a tractor in Sultanpur village. (HT File)

Weeds lead to India losing an average of $11 billion each year in 10 major crops, shows data from 1,581 farm trials in 18 states.

“Weeds are notorious yield reducers that are, in many situations, economically more harmful than insects, fungi or other crop pests,” said a study, published in the journal, Crop Protection.

“Insects, diseases and weeds are the three main biological factors for losing crop yield and causing economic loss to farmers. Unlike the visible impact of diseases and insects, the impact of weeds goes unnoticed,” said Dr Yogita Gharde, lead author of the paper and scientist at the directorate of weed research at Indian Council of Agriculture Research.

“If weed growth is not stopped at a critical time, it results in massive crop loss, sometimes as high as 70%,” said Gharde.

The study reviewed three types of fields – where weeds were left uncontrolled, where weeds were controlled using local practices , and fields where weeds were controlled completely.

“We calculated the yield loss and then used the government’s minimum selling price to calculate the economic loss to the farmers,” she said.

First Published: Feb 06, 2018 08:02 IST