Gram

Diseases of Chickpeas / Gram Wilt (Caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp ciceri)

Symptoms

The plants start wilting and ultimately dry up at seedling and/or at flowering stage. The diseased plants are pulled out easily, due to the loss of rigidity. Sometimes, sudden drooping of leaves or only a few branches of a single plant is affected. The disease mostly spreads in patches, but entire field may also be affected in severe conditions. Severe damage has been reported during early pod filling.

Perpetuation

The disease causing fungus may survive and carried over from year to year by sowing infected seed, while the diseased plant debris lying in the field or in the threshing area also helps the fungus to remain alive.

Control

Cultivation of disease resistant variety is only the most easy, economical and safe method.

    However, following measures could be beneficial if applied.

  • Avoid the cultivation of gram in the diseased area for three years.
  • Improvements of soil condition with good drainage minimize the disease incidence.
  • Use of disease free seed or seed treatment with suitable seed dressing fungicides before sowing.
  • Late and deep sowing reduce the incidence of the disease.
  • Mixed cropping of gram with wheat, barley, rape, mustard, safflower, sorghum and millet help to check the disease.
  • Diseased plants should be uprooted from the field and burnt.
  • Sweeping the threshing floor and burning or burying all plant debris.

Blight [Caused by Mycosphaerella rabiei (Ascochyta rabiei)]

Symptoms

The disease starts from the base of the plant, which result in the death of the whole plant. The infected plants could not be differentiated in early stages from the distance. The affected plants may show partial or total drying, with purple to dark brown spots of different sizes on stems, branches, leafstalks and leaflets. These spots become brown to black lesions and affected plants or plant parts show burnt appearance. Primarily individual infected plants may be observed scattered but later on the disease appear in circular patches and ultimately the entire field come under attack, therefore, whole crop may be destroyed completely. The disease symptoms may also occur on the pods and seeds. The pods produce blackish spots while the seeds become shriveled.

Perpetuation

The disease causing fungus is a soil borne and can remains viable for considerable periods. Seed may also help fungus to survive.

Control

The control measures are same as suggested for wilt disease of gram.

Cercospora Leaf Spot (Caused by Cercospora canescens and C. cruenta)

Symptoms

The spots appear on leaves, gray to brown in color and circular to irregular in shape. These spots increase in number and size, which turn into lesions of a reddish brown margin. The size of pods and seed is reduced, hence yield decreased considerably.

Perpetuation

The disease causing fungus is seed borne.

Control

The control measures are same as recommended for the wilt of gram.

Root and Stem Rot(Sometimes known as charcoal rot, caused by Macrophomina phaseolina, Rhizoctonia bataticola and R. solani)

Symptoms

The disease is difficult to identify in initial stages. However, dark lesions are formed on the main stalk near soil level, forming localized dark green patches. The tissues of the affected portions become weak and shredded easily. If the plants will pull out, the basal stem and root may show dry rot symptoms.

Perpetuation

The disease causing fungi are soil borne and remain viable for long period.

Control

The control measures are same as recommended for the wilt of gram.

Anthracnose (Caused by Colletotrichum lindemuthianum or Gloeosporium phaseoili)

Symptoms

All the aerial parts of the plants are infected by the disease causing fungus. Initially, small spots appear in scattered manner but later on the coalesce, giving rise to broad lesions, which become dead. The spots are usually depressed with dark center and bright red or orange margins. Sometimes, such lesions are seen lenticular to circular sunken and tan to brown.

Perpetuation

The disease is seed borne, but secondary spread takes place by air borne.

Control

The disease could be controlled by spraying suitable fungicides, but the suggestions given for the control of gram wilt may also found fruitful.

Harvesting and Storage

Chickpeas mature in 3-7 months and the leaves turn brown/yellow during maturity. For dry seeds, the plants are harvested at maturity or slightly earlier by cutting them close to the ground or uprooting. The plants are stacked in the field for a few days to dry and later the crop is threshed by trampling or beating with wooden flails. The chaff is separated from the grain by winnowing. Tall cultivars are suitable for mechanized harvesting in which case combines can be used. Chickpeas are usually stored in bags, but are more subject to insect damage than when stored in bulk. Proper cleaning, drying, and aeration are necessary to control seed beetles. A thin coating with vegetable oil can reduce storage damage. Sometimes baskets, made from twisted rice straw, are used as storage containers.

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