Every year in almost every region of the state different varieties of Basmati suffer from 'foot rot' disease, which directly results in dying of seedlings and hence putting farmers in worry and despair. However, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has come up with some efficient solutions to save the crop from dying.
Talking to PAU scientists, they revealed that this disease has become very common in the state and was caused by 'Fusarium moniliforme', a deadly fungus that can be either seed-or soil-borne.
Sharing symptoms, additional director of research JS Dhiman stated, "While in nursery, the infected seedlings start drying from bottom and within few days, they die. In the field, post-transplanting, symptoms can be noted. The infected plants may become taller than the normal plants, roots start appearing on lower nods of the stem and pinkish growth of fungus appears on the lower sheaths."
On getting rid from this disease or ways to fight it, Pushpinder Pal Singh, head of plant pathology department said, "Our experts at PAU have recently come up with 'Trichoderma harzianum', a bio-control agent that can kill the pathogenic fungus behind the disease. Other than this, we recommend use of Bavistin, a green chemistry chemical that can also control this disease and most importantly while transplanting it must be ensured that every seedling is disease-free".
For the method to use Singh said, "Talking from the nursery stage perspective, the seedling from nursery can be carefully treated by dipping in preparation containing Bavistin (20g in 10 litre of water) or use of Trichoderma harzianum' formulation (15g per litre of water) for six hours before transplanting."
Senior plant pathologist Daljeet Singh suggested any highly infected plant that has fully dried must be uprooted and buried in a far off field so that fungus does not affect the other plants in the same field.
Director of agriculture, Punjab, Mangal Singh Sandhu emphasised that farmers must adhere to recommendations of PAU to tackle the problem of 'foot rot'.
"All farmers should exercise recommended protection for this disease right from the nursery stage. Secondly, they should regularly monitor basmati to check if any plant is infected and measures to be taken on an instant note."