The devastating role of fungi in major crop yields, including cereals like rice, wheat and vegetables cannot be ignored. According to a study, airborne fungi can cause more damage and diseases to crops than bacteria and viruses. Read on as we talk about fungus and fungal-like organisms, their wide-ranging impact, diseases like rice blast and fungicides.
The impact of fungi and fungal-like organisms (FLOs) on human nutrition, plant health crop yield and food loss is serious. Some of the major crop losses in history include the destruction of wheat crops in the Middle Ages, potato blight in Ireland, loss of grape vineyards of Central Europe, loss of bushels of wheat in the US, etc., linked to fungi and fungi-like organisms.
The irreversible loss caused by fungi and FLOs
The loss caused by fungi and fungal-like organisms is wide-reaching and not necessarily limited to the destruction of crops. For example, in 2006, dozens of dogs died in the US by consuming foods containing aflatoxin - a toxic chemical produced by a fungus found on corn and other grains that causes severe liver damage in animals.
Fungi bring damaging effects to plants by killing the latter's cells and creating plant stress and their source may be attributed to several sources including infected soil, seeds, debris from crops, weeds etc. Fungi can spread from one area to another through wind or other environmental factors and through the movement of soil, tools, machinery, seedlings etc.
Rice blast by Magnaporthe oryzae
While the number of diseases caused by fungi are many, rice blast requires special attention. Linked to a fungus named Magnaporthe oryzae, the disease is one of the biggest challenges for rice cultivation.
Rice blast, according to ancient records was the cause of many deadly famines in Japan. It also caused a major food crisis in Korea in the 1970s. Caused by Magnaporthe grisea, also known as rice blast fungus, it can infect and destroy rice plants in nearly all their growth stages.
Based on the area of the plant affected by the fungus, the disease is also known as node blast, panicle blast, collar blast, leaf blast etc. The symptoms can be visible on different areas of the rice plant including leaf collars, necks, seeds, leaves etc.
There was a need for a highly effective solution to tackle this menace of Rice blast when synthetic chemical fungicides were introduced which showed promising results.
Rice sheath blight by Rhizoctonia solani
Rice sheath blight is a disease of rice plants caused by Rhizoctonia solani, a plant pathogenic fungus. When infected, leaves dry out and die quickly. It is a worrying disease next to rice blast and a very significant concern for rice production. It decreases crop yields and affects the quality of produce significantly. Sheath blight symptoms may sometimes appear on seedling rice, but symptoms are more likely to develop after jointing begins.
The first symptom is an oblong, water-soaked lesion on leaf sheaths at or near the water line. n two or three days the lesion will have a grayish-white center surrounded by a dark purplish- or reddish-brown margin and may be up to one inch long. This lesion interrupts the flow of water and nutrients to the leaf tip and the tip may die. Tissue below the lesion may remain green. Sheath blight is more prevalent during warm, moist weather and in thick, lush stands because of the high humidity that develops in the canopy.
Benefits of fungicides in controlling plant diseases
The use of fungicides in controlling fungus and bacteria is essential to control several crop diseases like rice blast. They can increase the volume of yield, promote plant growth and prevent existing fungal diseases in plants. They have wide-ranging applications including spray, powder and systematic formula.
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Proper use of fungicide can provide expert protection to mature plants and help keep seeds healthy and improve yield results. Summed up, when used judiciously and in the proper amount following the guidelines as in pack label fungicides can check the growth of fungus and help crops grow for a better, safer harvest.
While using fungicides can greatly improve crop yield, it's important to understand when to use them and how to use them. It's always beneficial to talk to an expert to understand your options and learn about the correct dosage, application method and precautions during application.
The use of fungicides may not be enough if a disease is already prevalent and has grown speedily, hugely affecting the crop’s health. Once you are ready to use a recommended fungicide to tackle specific crop problem, it's then important to read the label properly and follow all the instructions for maximum benefits and safe use.
The best fungicide for rice blast
To learn more about the best fungicide for rice sheath blight and the best fungicide for rice blast and other diseases, feel free to talk to an expert now.