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Farmers are worried about infestations, but state officials are confident that necessary measures have been taken. Maharashtra’s cotton crop, which has completed nearly 60 days after sowing, is already showing signs of a pink bollworm attack. Although the severity is yet to be known, cotton farmers in the state are already worried about the crop’s fate this season. Maharashtra Agriculture Commissioner Sachenra Pratap Singh has said the department has already swung into action, following reports of incidence in some cotton-growing regions. Pink bollworm attack on cotton has been reported this year from Akola and Washim districts in Vidarbha; Nanded and Parbhani in Marathwada and Jalgaon in Khandesh. Last year, the insect had caused large-scale damage to the crop in central and eastern parts of Maharashtra — the main cotton-growing regions of the state. The state government had announced compensation for the affected farmers. According to officials of the department, the infestation has shown its presence again. Larvae of the insect have been spotted on the crop which had been sown nearly 60 days ago. If it is not controlled in time, the plants will wither and this could affect the yield. Pink bollworm is an insect that chews through the cotton lint to feed on the seeds. Its infestation starts at budding stage because of which flowers do not bloom or often exhibit rosette-shape flower. The larvae bore into bolls, feed on inner content and developing seeds.

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