Saturday, June 19, 2021

Telangana’s desi ‘Mud’ solution to check Locusts

Hyderabad: While parts of India are facing worst plague of locusts, the formidable weapon for farmers to save their farms, orchards and standing crops is nothing but the locally made mud spray. The mud filed into knapsack sprayers and sprayed on crops could save the plants from becoming fodder for the hungry grasshoppers also known as the desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria).

They are now likely to enter the northern districts of Telangana after invading parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.The novel solution is suggested by Padma Shri awardee Chinthala Venkat Reddy of Alwal. He came up with this solution way back in 2004-2006 while working on control methods of stem borer. His keen eye on the behaviour of the locusts, and their vulnerabilities made him realise that locusts have no liver and it breathes through its scaly skin.

“It can’t digest the clay content if the sub soil is mixed with water and sprayed on the crops. So they will simply stay away or take another route without touching the crops sprayed with mud,” Venkat Reddy told Telangana Today. He asked farmers to dig for four feet in their farms where the sub soil will have enough clay content. “Take 200 liters capacity drum and 30-40 kgs of soil and mix it well with the water. Let the soil precipitate for at least 10 to 20 minutes and then filter the clay mixed water from the top. Use this mud solution to spray the crops ,” he said.

Venkat Reddy, who has a patent for the mud spray technology says that many farmers from Rajasthan and other parts of the country have been calling him and thanking him as they found that swarms of locusts have avoided their farms sprayed with mud.

A young farmer from Mahbubnagar who practised mud spray on his tomato crop found that the temperatures at the farm have a cooled down a bit as mud spray also helps as a acclimatizer. Farmers need not worry as after the locust fear is over they can spray water to clean the dried mud,” he added. While allaying fears that the mud will destroy sprayer nozzles, he says that filtered mud water will not create that problem.

“Farmers can also spray water first and take sub soil in dry form and sprinkle or distribute like fertilizer. That will stick to the plants and also saves the sprayers from jamming,” he said. He advised farmers not to go for lighting fire as it could spread to the whole farm destroying the crops in the hot summer. He also says that high decibel sound like some of the farmers in the north India are trying will not be of any help.

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