Staff Correspondent

Red gram crop has been affected in Bidar

  • The virus spreads in humid conditions
  • A mite acts as an agent in spreading the disease

    Bidar: Farmers in Bidar are worried after a deadly virus attacked toor (red gram) crop in parts of the district.

    After Gulbarga, Bidar produces the largest amount of toor grain in the State. At present, the crop stands on at least 50,000 hectares in the district. Farmers in Bidar have been affected by erratic rainfall and all five taluks have been declared drought hit. Yield of staple crops such as green gram and black gram have been affected. The Department of Agriculture had estimated the green gram and black gram crop loss at over 60 per cent and the district administration has sought compensation for farmers from the State Government.

    Most farmers are depending on the toor crop and the virus attack has added to their worries. The Sterility Mosaic Disease caused by a virus, is fatal. However, the mite that acts as an agent in spreading the disease can be controlled, experts said.

    Growing disease-resistant varieties is one ways to prevent the disease. However, of the 50,000 hectares of crop in the district, only 20 per cent have these varieties. The other 80 per cent are susceptible, Krishi Vigyan Kendra senior scientist Ravi Deshmukh said. Growing the Badanapuri Sterile Mite Resistant variety, 736 or Asha varieties will prevent the infection, he said.

    The virus that spreads in humid air was found in small quantities last year also. However, this year its spread has been fast and wide. Continuous rain for three days in the recent weeks has led to the spread of the disease. The affected plants loses all power to grow, becomes sterile and fails to produce flowers or grain.

    Farmers sometimes spray a solution of Dichophal 2.5 ml mixed in a litre of wate, on the infected plant. This kills the mite and stops spread of the disease. The other method is to uproot affected plants and burn them. The disease has been identified during the periodical survey of pests and insecticides, assistant director of agriculture Vishnudas M. said.