SKUAST-Jammu issues pest alert after damage to rice crop

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Srinagar: Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Jammu (SKUAST–Jammu) has issued a pest alert in response to the recent sporadic outbreak of Rice Hispa (Dicladispa armigera) in a few locations within the Jammu district.

This alert comes considering alarming damage observed in scattered rice fields, posing a potential threat to the rice crop.

Official reports confirm Rice Hispa outbreaks in a limited number of locations includingMandal, R. S. Pura, and Bishnah blocks as reported by scientists from SKUAST - Jammu. This assessment was conducted during a pest survey in close collaboration with officers from the Department of Agriculture, with support from Agricultural Extension Officers (AEOs) from Mandal, Kirpind, and Bishnah, along with other relevant personnel. In response to the observed damage at the Research Farm in Chatha, SKUAST-Jammu took immediate action under the guidance of Prof. R. K. Samnotra, Director Research. This initiative was prompted by sporadic Hispa outbreaks in rice fields in Mandal, Bishnah, and R S Pura blocks in the Jammu district. Team comprising of Dr. Rajan Salalia, Dr. Vijay Bahadur Singh, Dr. Ravinder Singh Sudan (Chief Scientists’, AICRP on Rice), Dr. Magdeshwar Sharma, Dr. Deepak Kumar, Dr. Anjani Kumar Singh, and Dr. S. K. Singh conducted an in-depth survey to assess the extent of damage caused by the infestation at the Research Farm, SKUAST - Jammu, Chatha.

Survey findings reveal alarming levels of damage by this sporadic pest, severely affecting the vegetative phase of rice plants in these limited locations. Damage levels range from 10% to 80% across scattered fields, encompassing surveyed locations in different blocks, as well as the Research Farm at SKUAST-Jammu, Chatha. Indicators of infestation include leaf tip whitening, desiccation of young leaves, and notable blisters near leaf tips due to larval penetration. These symptoms have led to a distinctive scorched white appearance across the affected rice fields.

As adhoc recommendations, the expert team suggested  applying chlorpyriphos 20EC (0.05%) at a rate of 1250 ml/ha upon the manifestation of damage or the appearance of insects (equivalent to one adult insect or 1-2 damaged leaves per hill). A subsequent round of spraying is advised 40 days after the initial application, using chlorpyriphos (0.05%) or suitable alternatives such as Neemazal (0.3%) or Econeem (0.5%). Additionally, clipping and destruction of the top three-fourths of the leaves of highly infested crops with eggs and grubs at the early vegetative stage can suppress populations.

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