NAGAPATTINAM: Experts have confirmed the presence of Rice Blast fungal disease in samba crops in Iluppur and Orkudi villages near Kilvelur. Following complaints from farmers in the last one week, agriculture department officials, along with scientists of ICAR- Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Sikkal, inspected fields in the two villages on Monday.
Rice blast is caused by a fungus named Magnaporthe grisea. The disease-affected crops have eye-like pale coloured dots surrounded with greyish outlines on its surface. “It is caused due to over usage of urea fertiliser and when fields are not drained properly,” said KVK scientists.
Scientists spotted presence of the disease in around 20 to 30 acres cultivated with medium duration samba crop varieties such as ‘BPT 5204’. “BPT -5204 is not very disease-resistant compared to a few other varieties and is more susceptible to the fungal disease. If it is not controlled, the dots will expand and fuse and cause complete crop damage,” scientists added.
“We found the disease in fields which were mostly waterlogged and had excess of urea fertiliser. We will conduct a case study on this and educate farmers about the disease in the workshops to be held in the coming days,” said S Panneerselvam, Joint Director of the Agriculture Department.
It is to note that farmers complained of lack of urea fertiliser stock in Agriculture extension centres ia few days ago.
Talking about measures to prevent the disease, entomologist K Chandrasekar told TNIE,” Farmers should avoid overdosage of urea on crops and drain the fields properly. At initial stage, they can apply biocontrol agents such as Pseudomonas along with water. If it becomes intense, it is advisable to switch over to chemical fungicides such as Tricyclazole and spray its mixture with water. The scientists also found some crops affected by ‘Bacterial Leaf Blight’, which is caused Xanthomonas Oryzae bacteria. They advised cow dung and Pseudomonas as a remedy.