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2 Cultural practices


Welcome in this particular talk we will be talking about the Cultural Practices that are used for plant disease management. We can assume that cultural practices are invaluable to crop disease management because it is the practice that leads to reduction in inoculum and reduction in pathogen inoculum is the most important component of plant disease management. so once the inoculum load is reduced we can expect lesser disease naturally. So cultural practices for reducing crop diseases. So cultural practices can be considered as an invaluable practice for management of plant diseases because it leads to reduction in plant pathogens in terms of its initial inoculum. So once we are able to reduce the initial inoculum we can expect lesser disease in subsequent season. So cultural practice is very very essential from that point of view. Some of the cultural practices are so essential that it can even be better than management of the pathogens through chemical or host resistance measures because, if host resistance is applied singly then there is every possibility that the host resistance barrier will be overcome by the new race of a same pathogen. Similarly, if a synthetic chemical is used for a longer period of time then there is every possibility that the pathogen develop resistance against that particular synthetic compound. So cultural practices can be done in three stages.

First one is in the pre planting stage, second one is at the planting stage and the third one is at the post planting stage. So pre planting operations can include choice of site, then clearing of land, Stumping, Ploughing, Harrowing and Ridging. So these are some of the practices that are normally done before planting of the crop. Similarly, planting operations include Planting, Transplanting and Nursery practices. So these are operations that are done during the plantation of the crop and the post planting operations include thinning, supplying, mulching, manure or application Watering, Weeding, Pest and disease control, Harvesting, Processing and storage. So post planting operation is also significant in reducing the disease inoculum. So what are the important cultural practices? If we just consider important cultural practices then the first and most widely used cultural practice is rotation of crops with unrelated crops, say for example the most of the pathogens of cereals are non-pathogen to pulses. So a crop rotation of cereal with pulses is a good idea to lower the inoculum level of a particular pathogen in causing disease to a particular family of plant species. And crop rotation or normally it is done for three to four years so that the pathogen is deprived of its normal or natural host to build up its own inoculum. So crop rotation is the most important and foremost and widely used cultural practices globally. Next one is Fertilizer Usage – Fertilizer usage is very very significant in the sense that we have seen or it is observed that when the nitrogen balance goes up or you can say that the application of nitrogen is enhanced then the it leads to susceptibility of the host plant towards certain pathogens. At the same time if it is the Potash fertilizer it strengthened the host to fight with the invading pathogen. So balanced application of fertilizer is essential to manage certain pathogens. Next one is Deep burial of crop residue. what it is achieved through this practice is that once we buried the debris of the previous crop then most many a pathogens they survive on this debris. So once they are buried deeply into the soil they suffer from lack of oxygen and thereby the pathogen gets killed or the inoculum is destroyed. So Deep ploughing is another cultural practice that also helped us to remove or lower down the initial inoculum that is present on crop debris. Then planting on raised bed. This is another concept and this is a very good practice for certain crops like vegetables and certain pulses because, in poorly irrigated or poorly drained soil it is often observed that weeds cultivation help us to avoid certain diseases cause by certain pathogens and this is a practice that needs to be done in crops like peanuts, soybeans and guar were growing vegetable crops during poorly drained soils. So this is very very essential in those soils where the drainage condition is not up to the mark.

Then burning of crop residue – Although this is not a environmentally very acceptable method but this is a practice that can be adopted in a small scale in particularly in nurseries or in certain small land holdings where the burning of crop residues can also help us to minimize the inoculum load for the next season. So this is another practice that is adopted in many parts of the world to particularly destroy the inoculum level from a particular ley line holding. Then – Time of seeding – this is very very essential in the context that say for example which streak virus becomes more severe if the plantation of wheat is delayed. Similarly we can avoid the or escape the cotton root rot problem by early planting of the cotton seeds. So by manipulating the time of sowing or seeding we can escape certain diseases in some important crops. So this is also one of the major cultural practices that needs to be adopted and it needs to be practiced. The next one is Removal of undesirable plants – we all know that many plant pathogens they harbor in unrelated crop species in the agriculture farm. So when the main crop is there in the field then the pathogens that are surviving on different parts of these unrelated plant species they come back to the main crop and cause extensive damage. So its removal from the field is very very important and it needs to be done regularly in every crop season to avoid disease development. Then Volunteer plants this is another cultural practices where we need to take out or remove these volunteer plants from the previous crop season because the volunteer plants may also harbor the same pathogen that were causing disease in the previous main crop and they can carry this inoculum or the initial inoculum to cause disease in the next season. So it is very important to monitor these volunteer plants and they should be removed from the field so that we can have low inoculum level of the main crop for the next season. Roguing or removal of diseased plants. This looks very simple but this is a very very essential cultural practice which leads to reduction in this development for the next season. Once we see an infected plant in the main field it should be immediately picked and removed and it should be destroyed in a way so that the disease is not spread from that infected plant to the other healthy crops. So this cultural control practice have been found to be economically feasible and reducing disease losses. Growers should properly identify the disease that limit production and then use a variety of controls in combination.

So cultural practices can be integrated as well we can adopt multiple options of cultural practices to reduce the inoculum level of a particular pathogen that is possibly being targeted for the next crop season of the main crop through integration of these cultural practices which are cost[1]effective and they can be easily done but this is a very very significant control measure for management of a serious plant pathogen.

Thank you



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