Update: Plant Health News (22 Oct 14)

Community seed banks in Ethiopia are preserving seeds of local crops to strengthen food security © Bioversity International/C.Fadda

Community seed banks in Ethiopia are preserving seeds of local crops to strengthen food security © Bioversity International/C.Fadda

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including a study on the use of predator beetles as biocontrol for the destructive coffee berry borer, a look at the role of Ethiopia’s seedbanks in food security and turning barren land into banana orchards in Bangladesh.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (15 Oct 14)

Diaporthe citri, seen here affecting Tangelo, has been identified on lemon in India © Scot Nelson (CC BY-SA)

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 pathogen that’s causing fruit rot of tomato, orange, and apple in Pakistan, the first report of Phomopsis citri associated with dieback of lemon in India and the  first report of the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne hapla parasitizing roses in Ethiopia. 

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Update: Plant Health News (08 Oct 14)

Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) bags keep grain pest free © IITA (CC BY-NC)

Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) bags keep grain free of pests © IITA (CC BY-NC)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the promotion of grain storage bags to prevent pest damage in Kenya, the fight against herbicide-resistant weeds and managing Fusarium wilt disease in watermelon.

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Factsheet of the month: October – Preventing weeds in cassava

Preventing weeds in cassavaThis month sees the return of World Food Day which is celebrated annually on the 16th October, the day the Food and Agricultural Organisation was founded in 1945. This year’s theme, Family Farming, has been chosen to raise awareness of the role that family and smallholder farmers play in providing food security and achieving sustainable development. In the lead up to World Food Day, the World Development Movement is posting an A-Z of food sovereignty. The latest in this series was M for Mulching. Mulching is a widely-used technique amongst smallholder farmers who want to reduce soil erosion and water loss, and increase soil fertility. Another benefit of mulching is helping to reduce weed growth. This is is explained further in the Plantwise factsheet Preventing weeds in cassava. Cassava is a key staple crop in many countries so it is vital that yields are not affected by pests, including weeds. This factsheet was written in Sierra Leone by experts from the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI).

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (01 Oct 14)

Insect pests of cashew in Peru, where this fruit is consumed, have been identified © Joao Vicente CC BY

Insect pests of cashew in Peru, where this fruit is consumed, have been identified © Joao Vicente CC BY

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 the first record of the leaf beetle Callosobruchus nigritus found in Soybean in India, two new rust species on Fabaceae in Brazil and preliminary data on the major pests of cashew in the Peruvian Amazon. 

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Alternative to fungicides for the control of Pecan scab

Symptoms of pecan scab on pecan fruit © Charles J. Graham

Symptoms of pecan scab on pecan fruit © Charles J. Graham

Pecan scab, caused by the fungus Fusicladium effusum, is a major yield-limiting disease of pecan (Carya illinoinensis). Planting varieties with some resistance to the disease is the most practical way to avoid losses from pecan scab, but the scab fungus can change over time to overcome host resistance. The use of chemical fungicides is another widely used method of prevention and control. However, increasing resistance of the scab fungus to fungicides, coupled with greater awareness of the environmental impact of chemicals, is prompting farmers to consider other management options.

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Update: Plant Health News (24 Sep 14)

Farmers in some areas of Côte d'Ivoire have reported the appearance of black pod disease (Credit: Marie-Claude Bon, EBCL, USDA)

Farmers in some areas of Côte d’Ivoire have reported the appearance of black pod disease (Credit: Marie-Claude Bon, EBCL, USDA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including a new disease resistant maize released for farmers in Kenya, bitter-sweet effects of rain on the Ivorian cocoa crop and how cheap mobiles phones are driving Myanmar’s farming revolution.

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