Agri Business

Blast, stem borer hit paddy in Telangana as acreage doubles

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on March 10, 2020

Though the area under paddy in Telangana has gone up by 100 per cent to 27 lakh acres, the virulent pest ‘rice blast’ and stem borer and rice whorl maggot attacks on the crop may cause yield losses.

Normal rainfall, good levels of water in reservoirs and the additional irrigation capacity that the State developed in the last 2-3 years have helped the farmers increase the acreage. But a huge difference in night and day temperatures and high humidity levels in the State led to the spread of ‘rice blast’, which is called Aggi Tegulu locally. In ‘ideal conditions’, it can fly hundreds of kilometres, impacting the crop in vast stretches. Excessive use of urea has also contributed to the growth of the pest.

Scientists at the PJTSAU (Prof. Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University) have confirmed the attack of pests. However, they said the situation is under control and that it is not going cause severe losses.

Apart from the rice blast, the cereal crop is also affected by stem borer and rice whorl maggot attacks. The varsity has come up with an advisory to ward off the problem and reduce losses.

Record production

The State pegs a record paddy output of 148 lakh tonnes in the 2019-20 season (kharif and rabi), owing to sharp increase in the paddy area. The estimates, however, were done before the onset of the pest attack in the rabi season.

Farmers, however, are a worried lot as the problem is much bigger than the government estimates.

Published on March 10, 2020

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