Update: Plant Health News (14 Aug 13)

Ants and mealybugs work together to harvest food from cocoa trees  © Malcolm Tattersall (CC BY-NC-SA)

Ants and mealybugs work together to harvest food from cocoa trees © Malcolm Tattersall (CC BY-NC-SA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including foot rot disease attacking basmati crop in Punjab, Australian authorities intercept citrus pest on curry leaves and the ants that are threatening cocoa crops.

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

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Black Sigatoka Ravages Caribbean

Symptoms of the devastating disease Black Sigatoka on banana leaves. Image by CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Symptoms of the devastating disease Black Sigatoka on banana leaves. Image by CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Caribbean banana farmers are abandoning fields where crops have been badly affected by Black Sigatoka disease. Black Sigatoka has badly affected several countries in the region, including Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada and Guyana. Black Sigatoka is considered the most destructive disease of bananas and plantains and is caused by the fungus Mycosphaerella fijiensis. It first arrived in the Caribbean in 1991, and has since established and spread throughout the region.   Severely infected leaves die, significantly reducing fruit yield and causing mixed and premature ripening of banana bunches.  As part of the response to Black Sigatoka outbreaks in the Caribbean the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) provided an intensive training programme in management of the disease in Dominica back in June this year. The workshop trained technicians from Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Caribbean’s tropical climate with high rainfall and high humidity is conducive to the spread of Black Sigatoka, hence the training program focused on the management of the disease, including the strategic and careful use of fungicides in order to manage the disease while aiming to prevent fungicide resistance developing. Last year, FAO provided an expert from Cuba to assess the management efforts of each country in the Caribbean affected by the disease, and identify areas for improvement. For each country, a management and action plan was created in conjunction with the CARICOM Secretariat, the OECS Secretariat, the Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development Institute (CARDI), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), CIRAD, the Ministry of Food Production in Trinidad & Tobago and the Banana Board of Jamaica.

There are factsheets available on Black Sigatoka and it’s management on the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, with factsheets in French, Spanish and English. Click here to see them. 

References:

‘FAO supporting battle against dreaded banana disease’, Dominica News Online, June 2013

‘FAO supporting battle against Black Sigatoka’, St Lucia Mirror Online, June 2013

‘St Vincent and the Grenadines: Banana farmers ‘abandoning fields’’, BBC News, August 2013

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (07 Aug 13)

Fungi that cause leaf spots can reduce yields from mango crops (Joel Montes)

Fungi that cause leaf spots can reduce the yield from mango crops (Joel Montes)

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 fungi associated with boll and lint rot of cotton in Iran, leaf spot-causing pathogen Nigrospora sphaerica found on mango for the first time and Bursaphelenchus koreanus found in packaging wood from South Korea.

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Plantwise Photo Of The Month – August

A farmer at a plant clinic in Grenada receives a demonstration of how to make a trap to catch coconut weevils using discarded plastic water bottles. Image courtesy of Shamela Rambadan (CABI).

A farmer at a plant clinic in Grenada receives a demonstration of how to make a trap to catch coconut weevils using discarded plastic water bottles. Image courtesy of Shamela Rambadan (CABI).

Update: Plant Health News (31 Jul 13)

Phythophthora sojae causes root and stem rot of soybean © Daren Mueller, Iowa State University (CC BY-NC)

Phythophthora sojae causes root and stem rot of soybean © Daren Mueller, Iowa State University (CC BY-NC)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including reports of citrus greening (huanglongbing) in Paraguay, the discovery of genes resistant to Phytophthora sojae in soybeans and a computer model that gives early warning signs of crop failure.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Two million red palm weevils removed without the use of pesticides

Adult female red palm weevil © Luigi Barraco (CC BY-SA)

Adult female red palm weevil © Luigi Barraco (CC BY-SA)

In the first half of 2013 two million red palm weevils were removed from farms in Abu Dhabi using pheromone traps. The large number of red palm weevils in the area prompted the launch of the initiative, which forms part of the Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre’s (ADFSC) Integrated Pest Management project. The project was implemented in coordination with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) and will run throughout the rest of 2013 and 2014. This project aims to control palm tree pests while minimising pesticide usage, by increasing the knowledge and capabilities of workers to enable them to implement the best control methods for pests.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (24 Jul 13)

Botryosphaeria dothidea causes soft brown cankers to form on many orchard fruit species © University of Georgia (CC BY)

Botryosphaeria dothidea causes a soft brown rot on many orchard fruit © University of Georgia (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 report of fruit rot caused by Botryosphaeria dothidea on European pear in Italy, the first report of soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) on tobacco in Henan, central China and the taxonomic status of the Bemisia tabaci complex with a reassessment of the number of its constituent species.

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