Agriculture spokesman said on Monday that approximately 4 million acre area was being brought under cotton cultivation in Punjab and advised farmers to sow only the registered and approved varieties to get good production results. In a statement issued here, the spokesman said that the federal government has announced Rs 8500 per 40 kilogram as the support price of cotton while subsidies worth billions were already available to encourage sowing of registered cotton varieties, which, he added, would make cotton profitable for farming community. He said the subsidy was being given to farmers on sowing of registered varieties including BS-15, CIM-663, CKC-1, CKC-3, FH-490, IUB-2013, MNH-1020, Nibge-11, Niab-545, Niab-878, Niab-1048, and Niab-Kiran. The Rs 1000 per bag subsidy can be availed for a maximum of five acre area and would be allowed on first come first served basis. Farmers should take out the voucher from seed bag, send its secret number to 8070 as SMS with their CNIC numbers. Spokesman said that farmers should select fertile land and use other approved Bt varieties in accordance with the nature of soil, water availability and in consultation with local agriculture officials. Ten per cent area should be sown with non-Bt varieties so that enemy pests and bollworms do not develop resistance against safeguards incorporated in Bt varieties. Farmers should apply suitable pesticides and anti-fungus to seed before sowing to keep crop safe from attack by pests like white fly for a month besides fungus. He added that six kilogram per acre seed be used in case of fur-free seed or in case of seed with fur the quantity per acre should be eight (8) kilogram. Germination strength of the seed should be above 75 per cent. Sowing should be done preferably on beds either by machine or hands ensuring plant to plant distance at nine inches and row to row distance at 2.5 feet. Removing weeds from cotton sown on beds becomes easy, saves crop from rain and water related damages and ensures better application of fertilizers. Crop sown by drill should get first water 30-35 days after sowing and rest be applied maintaining 12-15 day gap. Crop sown on beds should get first water 3-4 days after sowing while second, third, and fourth water be applied maintaining an interval of 6-7 days. Later on, water be applied after twelve days gap if needed. Process of removal of diseased or weaker plants should be done in one session, either within 20-25 days after sowing, or before first water or after the dry hoeing. Plant population be maintained 15000-17500 per acre for crop sown from Apr 1-20, and 17500-20000 for crop sown from Apr 21 to May 10.