Update: New Pest & Disease Records (30 May 12)

The buff coconut mealybug damages palms by sucking their sap; its range is expanding in the Philippines © Sam Fraser-Smith (CC BY 2.0 license)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include a new bacterial pathogen of soyabean, the spread of the buff coconut mealybug to new locations and new host plants in the Philippines, and two new parasitic nematode species found in India.

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Stunting crop plant growth to reduce resource use

One of the researchers, Burkhard Schulz, shows sorghum that has been dwarfed with treatment of propiconazole, with untreated maize plants behind. © Purdue Agricultural Communication / Tom Campbell

Plant scientists at Purdue University in Indiana, USA, along with their colleagues from Seoul National University in South Korea, have found a way to keep crop plants small without having a reduction in yield. The diminutive plants have reduced resource requirements and are more tolerant of severe weather conditions. Read more of this post

Pesticide use does not guarantee increased yields

Theobroma cacao © sarahemcc (CC BY 2.0 license)

The ongoing decline of pollinators has caused a global concern. Factors contributing to this decline include among others, use of pesticides, habitat destruction such as bush burning, bee diseases and pests (Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and Varroamite), and climate change.  Research in Ghana has revealed that cocoa and oil palm production is on the decline as pesticide use increase is killing the pollinating insects. The research, carried out by entomologists and plant scientists from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), was presented at a seminar on pollination in Fumesua, Ghana last month (16 April).

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Update: Plant Health News (23 May 12)

Banana Xanthomonas Wilt- infected banana plants in banana farm. (Photo credit: IITA Image Library via Flickr.com)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including reports linking pesticide use to reduced cocoa and oil palm yields in Ghana,  an unidentified maize disease in Kenya, and the destructive banana disease in Congo-Kinshasa that is threatening food security.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news! Read more of this post

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (16 May 12)

© Henrique Pinto (CC BY 2.0 license, via Flickr)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include new records of rust fungi for South Africa, a new species of Stemphylium on spinach vine in China, and the first report of the root-knot nematodes Meloidogyne javanica and M. incognita on ginger and coriander crops in two Indian regions.

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MoU Signed in Grenada

Lizz Johnson and Michael Lett holding the MoU that outlines how the Ministry of Agriculture and CABI will work together to bring Plant health system to Grenada and provide information to the Plantwise Knowledge Bank.

Plant clinics are now a reality in Grenada.  Phil Taylor and Lizz Johnson recently travelled to Grenada to give Module 2 of the Plantwise “How to be a Plant doctor” training and additional  exercises in data management.  The week-long course involved a brief recap of what was learned in Module 1 (symptom recognition and description) and then moved onto how to make recommendations in response to farmers’ pest and disease problems. CABI courses encourage non-chemical control of pests and diseases but also acknowledges the importance of chemical inputs in food production. Module 2 studies cultural control measures as well as the use and the modes of action of various chemicals so that they can be used judiciously and minimise the likelihood of resistance.  The course involves a visit to local agro-chemical suppliers in the area to alert them of the Plantwise initiative and to begin dialogue with them and to incorporate them into a true plant health system. In each case the trainees were well received and the dealers were keen to learn more and become involved in the initiative. Read more of this post

Update: Plant Health News (9 May 12)

Disease-resistant raspberries – from FreshFruitPortal.com

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the development of disease-resistant raspberries in the U.S., news on a biofertilizer that could save citrus crops in Brazil, and how DNA barcoding could be the future of crop pest control.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!

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