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Measures To Control Plant Diseases

As farmers quest for farm technologies that will significantly increase productivity, crop production practices continue to change. Yet plant diseases remain a big problem, limiting yields.

An effective disease management involves good agronomic practices such as balanced and appropriate fertilization, crop rotation, tillage, and weed control. But plant disease prevention and identification are still the best and first line of defenses against the onslaught of diseases.

There are many ways to manage plant diseases. And Dr. Naomi G. Tangonan, plant pathologist, Univer sity of Southern Mindanao Professor and Philippine Society for the Study of Nature Kalikasan Awardee fo Teaching and Research, suggests thy following measures:
• cultural measures such as intercropping, proper plant density, weeding. off-barring, hitting up, trap cropping. and irrigation;
• mechanical measures like roughing and pruning;
• physical measures such solar radiation, smudging, light traps for patho gen-carrying insects;
• application of organic-based formu lations like fermented teas from agricultural wastes such as fruit peels, cobs, legume pods, bagasse, straws, animal manures, and vermicasts;
• use of biocontrol agents like bacteria, fungi, mild strain viruses fc cross protection and friendly insects, and biopesticides or extracts of bo tanicals with fungicidal, bactericidal, nematicidal, insecticidal and viricidal properties;
• planting of disease-resistant cult vars; and
• judicious use of synthetic fungicides.

By Alicia T. Hayudini