After successfully identifying and issuing advisories to farmers regarding Southern Rice Black Streak Dwarf Virus (SRBSDV), a viral disease that has led to the mysterious stunting of paddy plants in many parts of Punjab, the University Agriculture of Punjab (PAU) has made an informative video report in which experts address farmers on ways to help identify the affected crop.
The video also aims to help farmers control the population of white-backed grubs, which act as a vector and lead to the spread of the disease in the paddy.
The video comes at a time of reports of farmers engaging in unnecessary pesticide and termite spraying. “The same not only poisons the soil, air and culture, but also increases the cost of inputs for the cultivation of culture,” said Dr. Anil Sharma, additional director of the communication department of PAU.
“In order to better understand the situation. We decided to make a short video of about six minutes with Plant Pathology Department Scientist Mandeep Singh Hunjan. We have shown the stunted paddy plant, so that farmers can also identify it and take the measures recommended by the university,” he added.
Sharma was quick to add that while the first video was made in Punjabi, the process of recording the same in other languages for wider access to regions such as Uttarakhand, western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana was in progress.
In the video itself. farmers were advised to monitor crops and monitor the grub population.
Hunjan said the height of stunted plants was reduced by half to a third compared to normal plants, adding, “These plants had shallow roots and could be easily uprooted. These plants have been observed in almost all varieties grown in farmers’ fields.
Hunjan said the team of scientists from UPA traveled to the affected areas of Hoshiarpur, Ropar, Mohali, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala districts to systematically decipher the cause of such stunted plants in rice.
The team observed that the occurrence was more pronounced in early sown rice fields, regardless of variety. The date of the seeding trials in PAU confirmed that the rice crop transplanted from June 15 to 25 was the most affected.
“Stunting symptoms were observed in 5-7% of fields in these districts. In the affected fields, the incidence of stunted plants ranged from 5-7%,” Munjab said.
This is the first time that SRBSDV, first reported in 2001 in southern China, has been detected in Punjab.