Tamil Nadu

Farmers hit by brown planthopper plague

While the farmers in Tiruvannamalai are yet to recover from the loss caused due to the outbreak of brown planthopper disease ( pugaiyan ) in the last Navarai season, paddy crops in about 500 acres have been affected by the disease in the current Sornavari season.

The disease causes the crops to dry and yield less. Though the outbreak has been reported from several parts of Cheyyar, Vandavasi, Vembakkam and Arani taluks in the district, it is severe in villages such as Thandarai, Mukkur, Thavasi, Purisai, Alathur and Dusi, etc.,

Vakkadai V.G. Purushothaman, state office-bearer of Thamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam (non-political) said that crops in about 500 acres of land have been affected by disease. “In Navarai season, about 3,000 acres were hit. We submitted nearly petitions of farmers who sought compensation for the loss and took up the issue several times, but the government has not responded yet. Officials need to educate farmers on how to protect their crops from the outbreak. If farmers adopted the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the disease could be curtailed,” he added.

‘Reduce urea levels’

An agricultural department official said that excessive application of urea and wrong selection were the causes for the outbreak of the disease. “Only half a bag of urea should be applied for an acre of paddy crop. However, since urea is easily available, farmers even apply up to four bags. More urea might make the crop look greener but it would reduce their immunity making them susceptible to planthopper attack,” he said.

“Another reason for the outbreak is the indiscriminate use of Pyrethroid pesticides. They apply this for any kind of pests based on unstudied referrals. These pesticides invite planthopper and if it is already present, they aggravate it further. If the pests are found in crops, people need to spray 400 ml of ‘imidacloproid’ pesticide per acre. It should be applied on tillers after draining water from the field. If SRI method is followed, there would be sufficient space between rows that facilitates easy application on tillers. Hence the disease is better controlled,” the official said.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 12:02:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Farmers-hit-by-brown-planthopper-plague/article14500550.ece

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