Insect attacks on paddy crops leaves farmers worried

  • Rameshinder Singh Sandhu, Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
  • Updated: Aug 24, 2015 23:56 IST
Farmers showing damaged paddy after heavy rain at village Badbar in Barnala district. Bharat Bhushan/HT

Several paddy farmers in the region have reported the occurrence of sheath blight disease and attack of plant hopper insect on their crop. The insect attack has triggered tension among the farmers, as they fear their yield would be adversely affected.

PS Sekhon, department head, Plant Pathology from PAU informed HT on Sunday, that several reports regarding the incidence of sheath blight disease on rice have been received from farmers from various parts of the state.

"Occurrence of disease or any insect attack is a big challenge and it makes us very worried. Our biggest worry of fall is that the crop yield and quality of rice might get affected as a result. Though rainy days are good for paddy, but at times, crops become prone to attack of insects during such days", said several farmers in unison.

District agricultural officer (DAO), Sukhpal Singh Sekhon said the farmers were justified in voicing their concerns for it was a worrisome state for them. He added, however, that ample solutions could be resorted to, for the mitigation of such issues.

"It is a fact acknowledged by many that farmers, do not spray pesticides suggested by agri experts from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) from state department of agriculture, and opt for private pesticides instead. Most of these private pesticide shop owners have no qualifications and have profit making on their mind. So, I would suggest the farmers to contact me and my team and PAU experts for the right solutions", said Sekhon.

Referring to the initial symptoms of sheath blight disease, PS Sekhon said, the affected plants exhibit oval to irregular grayish green lesions with purple margins on the lower leaf sheath just above the water level. Under favourable weather conditions, the lesions expand upwards affecting the entire plant and yield, he said.

The DAO cautioned farmers about the appearance of the disease on basmati varieties. He advised the farmers to spray the crop with 200 ml Tilt 25 EC and stressed on giving second spray after 15 days to the disease-affected paddy fields. He advised the farmers to use cone type nozzle for spraying the fungicides.

Farmer helplines:

District Agriculture Officer, Sukhpal Singh Sekhon: 8872200567

Punjab Agricultural University: 0161-2401960 to 2401979 (20 Lines)

Chander Mohan, Plant Pathology expert and additional director of communication, PAU: 9814403956

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