Collector Ramsankar Naik, accompanied by a panel of agriculture scientists, on Saturday examined the pest-affected Bengal gram crop in Aluru and Halaharvi mandals of Kurnool district.

The district emerged has the place with the highest area under Bengal gram cultivation in the country with over 2.5 lakh hectares. Most of the farmers have abandoned cultivation of traditional crops like jowar, sunflower, safflower and coriander and shifted to Bengal gram. The crop has been affected by severe leaf blight in the district this year which is likely to hit the yield. The lower portion of the planted has been degenerated with leaf spots and burning.

The scientists noted that acute damp conditions due to excess rain, cultivation of Bengal gram for several years without any rotation and large areas under the crop in the district without any gap, had led to the outbreak of the disease.

As short-term solution, the scientists suggested spraying of hexaconazole (contaf) or Bavistin to control the disease. As long-term measures, farmers were advised to shift to castor which would give steady yields with less pest problem. Also, the farmers who were particular about Bengal gram cultivation were asked to follow rotation system by cultivating other crops in between to break the pest cycle.

Collector asked farmers to take up chemical spraying as immediate measure and promised to write to the government about the crop loss after proper assessment on the quantum of damage.