Hyderabad

Rice blast disease reduces paddy yield in rabi season

A farmer spraying fungicides to protect his paddy crop from rice blast disease in Veenavanka mandal in Karimnagar district on Saturday.

A farmer spraying fungicides to protect his paddy crop from rice blast disease in Veenavanka mandal in Karimnagar district on Saturday.  

Crop starts withering due to fungal attack; ryots have to incur huge expenditure to control the menace

Even as the farmers are hoping to reap a rich harvest by cultivating paddy due to availability of abundant water through Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project during the rabi season, the attack of rice blast disease to the crop has become a cause of concern in the integrated Karimnagar district.

Already, the rice blast disease has become an outbreak in some parts of Rajanna-Sircilla district and Karimnagar district also.

The paddy crop started withering following the attack of rice blast disease and is drying up.

Though the farmers took preventive measures such as spraying pesticides there is every possibility of decrease in the yield of paddy following the disease.

The rice blast is a common fungal disease of rice caused by the fungus which attacks the rice crop at all stages. The fungus attacks are due to excessive usage of fertilizers, intermittent rains and cloudy weather with dew in the fields and low night temperatures.

However, following the fungal attack, the farmers are incurring huge losses in controlling the menace.

“I cultivated paddy in eight acres of land and rice blast disease (aggi tegulu) had attacked the crop in six acres. I spent a huge amount on the purchase of pesticides to kill the fungus and the agricultural costs had increased considerably”, said a farmer and Rythu Ikya vedika district president M Venkat Reddy.

Cashing in on the prevailing situation, the pesticide shop-keepers are doing brisk business. Mr Venkat Reddy said that they were forced to spray fungicides three to five times but in vain.

On the other hand, the agricultural operation costs have increased steadily, he stated and feared that the production of paddy would come down from 40 bags per acre to 25 bags per acre.

District Agriculture Officer V Sreedhar said that they had issued an advisory to the farmers in the district to take prompt measures.

“We had asked the farmers to reduce the usage of fertilizers, water management and the use of pesticide to kill the fungus which affected the crop and stop its spread. The agriculture extension officers are visiting the fields and educating the farmers to take preventive measures accordingly,” he said.

The farmers are being advised to spray fungicides during the morning hours and evening hours, he said and added that the disease spreads very fast and advised the farmers to take up spraying of fungicides to ensure that there is no decline in the yield and the crop does not wither.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 9:44:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/rice-blast-disease-reduces-paddy-yield-in-rabi-season/article30952813.ece

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