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Amritsar

Posted at: Apr 13, 2018, 1:23 AM; last updated: Apr 13, 2018, 1:23 AM (IST)

Farm-friendly pests come to farmers’ rescue

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 12

The increasing concern regarding agricultural distress and degrading farm health has put emphasis on adopting farm-friendly practices. With many farmers switching to natural farming, new techniques are being adopted to improve soil health and results are encouraging for some. Experts in the field are reaching out to more with knowledge about more natural methods of farming, the latest being using friendly pests to replace pesticides and improving nutritional value of soil.

With Khalsa College establishing the first laboratory in the city to raise farm-friendly pests, regular workshops are being conducted to educate farmers about using insect species to save crop from damage. “Biological pest control has its benefits for ensuring high-yield crop and also rejuvenating the soil. With techniques like trachoderma for controlling soil pathogens, farmers are learning new ways to combat crop infestation,” says Rajvir Singh, an organic farming expert.

Calling 85% insect species as farm friendly, he says that lack of practical training for farmers has left many gaps in sustaining natural farming at large scale.

“At Pingalwara farms we have the highest content of algae that helps in improving soil health and fertility. Similarly, the strains of trichogramma brasiliensis and spiders can be helpful in farming. But lack of education and awareness has to be addressed,” he added.

Khalsa College’s bio-lab has been raising insect species isotima jevenesis, coccinellidae, syrphid, carabid, dragon fly, predatory pentatomids and anthrocoridd bugs in the lab for farmers’ use in fields.

Kulwinder Singh Nagra, a young farmer from Jagdev Kalan, who has been training to learn methods of using these strains of insects, says that such practices could give a fresh boost to the agriculture sector. “Sustainable farming is the future and one has to be open towards adopting new techniques. Using pests against crop infestation is cost-effective and also makes the land more fertile.”

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