Farmers are less sensitive to price when they are sure of quality planting material, its exclusiveness and the monetary compensations that will acquire from higher production.

In the protray nurseries, pest management practices needs to be adopted in the following components such as nursery area, protrays, the substrate and spatial arrangement

Weed free

The soil inside the shadenet nursery must be free from weeds and other unwanted materials as this would serve as alternate host for many insect and diseases.

The elevated substrate/soil where the protrays are kept must be drenched with disinfectant like sodium hypochlorite or formalin and fungicide like carbendazim.

The hybrids of different crops and different age group seedlings must be kept separately.

This will avoid the spread of the insect pests from the older seedlings to the young ones.

Many growers use protrays containing insect pest and disease infected seedlings are being reused without any treatment.

This will serve as recurrent inoculums for the ensuing batch of seedlings. Hence these trays must be treated with 0.1 per cent sodium hypochloride or 0.1 per cent carbendazim solution to disinfect the trays.

Decomposed cocopeat is mostly used as substrate for growing seedlings The substrate must be free from pest and disease incidence.

The nursery growers must remove the pest infested seedlings and the respective substrate from the nursery area and disinfect the trays.

Pseudomonas fluorescens mixed with cocopeat at 2.5 kg for 300 kg of media to avoid disease incidence in seedlings.

Moisture content

The moisture content in the root medium must be kept optimum. The lower moisture content attracts ant incidence, whereas higher moisture content causes disease.

Different hybrids of crops have to be arranged age wise. The treatment given, batch details, variety name, company details must be mentioned in the labels.

This kind of arrangement will help to discard the insect and disease infected lot from the nursery area.

(P.S. Shanmugam. and K. Indhumathi are from Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Papparapatty 636 809, Dharmapuri, Phone : 04342-245860.)