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Prof EA Siddiq
  • One of the eminent scholars of our time, Padma Shri Prof. Siddiq writes for RKMP on "Rice Research in India" covering various aspects. This comprehensive paper covers different facets of rice research carried out in India since Independence. While going through this paper, we hope that you will experience the transformation that the country has seen in last five decades.
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Management of biotic stresses - Insect pest management

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Management of biotic stresses

Insect pest management

Warm humid environment, under which rice is grown in the country, is conducive for incidence of insect pests and disease causing pathogens. The spectrum of insect pests has increased from a couple of them in the pre high yield technology period to a dozen in the high yield and post high yield era. Frequent outbreaks of BPH along with white backed planthopper and gallmidge in increasingly viruliferous biotypes and continued damage from stem borer, especially after 1980 have made the insect pest scenario much more complex and difficult to manage. The situation remains same despite all intervention strategies adopted, with stemborer remaining the major cause of crop losses (30%) closely followed by BPH (16%) and gallmidge (13%). Aside the host plant resistance based pest management strategy discussed elsewhere, considerable research interventions have gone into the following aspects. Extensive study of gallmidge damage in different parts of the country has revealed it to exist in as many as six biotype forms, each with location and variety specific viruliference. Knowledge of genetics of biotype specific resistance and linking of the genes concerned with molecular markers have now become handy for breeders to plan and undertake more systematic and directed breeding for resistance to the pest adopting various gene deployment strategies. Evaluation of insecticides for their effectiveness against rice insect pests and optimization of dosage, spectrum of toxicity, and application effectiveness in granular or spray formulations have been made along with cost effectiveness to minimize their use in different rice ecologies. For instance, soaking of sprouted seed in 0.2% chloropyriphos for 3 hours before sowing has been found to provide protection against gallmidge in the nursery, while soaking roots of seedlings in the same pesticide and dose before transplanting protects the crop upto a month from stemborer. Rice pest specific predators, parasites and entamopathogens known to exist in large numbers in the rice ecosystems, provide natural control over the pests. As large as 185, 124 and 54 natural enemies have been reported respectively against stemborer, planthoppers, green leafhoppers and leaffolder. Conservation of them by avoiding chemical pesticide spray and mass rearing and release of them are two strategies found effective against these pests. Release of mirid bug predator reared on eggs of Corcyra cephalonica 35 days after transplanting for instance, has been found to control BPH effectively, while inundative release of the egg parasite Trichogramma japonicum 5-9 times help minimize crop damage by 40-60% from leaf folder. Use of sex pheromones in pest monitoring of yellow stemborer has been found as effective as light traps. They have also been shown to be potential enough for direct control of stemborer by mass trapping of males and disrupting thereby mating communication. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) involving one or two pest specific resistant variety and use of need based chemical pesticides against other pests or release of pest specific natural enemies has been found to be the best pest environment safe management strategy, if done on community scale.

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Prof E.A.Siddiq
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