Indian farmers report neck blast disease among rice crops

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Rice farmers in the Sirsa district of India reported Oct. 5 that their rice crops have been damaged by "neck blast" disease.

Neck blast disease creates gray and brown lesions on rice crops that can lead to the premature death of the plant. The apparent infection occurred to Pusa-1401, a common variety of basmati rice, in the area.

Explaining the farmers' predicament, Jugraj Singh, a farmer from Talwara Khurd village of Sirsa, said, “My crop in 80 acres has started turning white leaving its panicles dying prematurely within four days. We have been told that this is an attack of neck blast, a fungal infection of paddy." 

In response, the Sirsa Department of Agriculture encouraged the use of fungicides in order to prevent further instances.

The fungus tends to spread through infected plant debris, water, wind and mechanical means that includes insect activity. The fungus also thrives in areas that have high amounts of nitrogen and humidity. Typically, the disease is managed through planting resistant crops and through the use of fungicides. 

Neck blast is one of the more destructive diseases that can affect a crop globally, leading to yield losses of up to 50 percent. The severity of the condition is dependent on where the plant is infected.

Another outbreak of neck blast occurred earlier this year in several areas of the Tiruchirappalli district.

Organizations in this Story

International Society for Infectious Diseases

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