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With weather expected to remain cold in January, experts of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) have appealed to the state farmers to not panic on observing the incidence of pink stem borer in wheat, but rather remain vigilant and monitor their wheat fields regularly.

Dr MS Bhullar, Director of Extension Education, informed that considering the news of the incidence of pink stem borer in wheat in some newspapers, the PAU teams surveyed the pink stem borer infested wheat crop and observed its minor incidence in some fields in the districts of Sri Muktsar Sahib, Bathinda, Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib during the second and third weeks of December 2023. But the growth and development of this pest has declined due to the onset of severe winter conditions, he told.

Dr Beant Singh, Senior Entomologist, while explaining its symptoms, said, “Pink stem borer is originally a pest of rice, but now it is appearing on wheat crop as well. Generally, it causes damage to paddy/basmati and late sown maize crops in September-October which may be carried over to wheat crop. Mostly, it attacks 30-45 days old wheat crop. The larvae of pink stem borer, bore into the stem of young plant and kill the central shoot causing ‘dead heart’. The infested tillers first look pale brown and ultimately dry up.”

Dr GPS Sodhi, Additional Director of Extension Education, observed that the prevailing winter conditions were favorable for tillering in wheat crop. Minor attack of pink stem borer will be compensated by tillering in wheat crop, he added. Irrigating the wheat fields during the day time also resulted in predation of insect-pest by birds. So, farmers should not worry, instead go in for surveillance of their wheat fields, he advised.

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