Farmers Guide

Weather vagaries misunderstood as disease in pepper gardens- Save the vines by adopting moisture conservation methods
        Yellowing and wilting of black pepper vines are being noticed across several parts of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Often it is mistaken as either foot rot (Phytophthroa rot) or slow decline (nematode infection). Black pepper being a perennial vine, most of the feeder roots are concentrated in top 60 cm layer of the soil. Inadequate moisture in the soil would cause yellowing and wilting of plants, intensity of which vary with location, soil type, shade level etc. In most places, at this time, black pepper crop is half matured or approaching maturity, and in most cases with high fruit set, further adding to the moisture stress. Reduced soil moisture levels and rising temperature aggravate the situation.
       Black pepper being a rain-fed crop, the erratic and reduced rainfall and the rise in atmospheric temperature, can lead to crop failure or reduced yield in many locations. In Kerala, during 2016-17 crop season, all the 14 districts are declared as drought affected. Southwest monsoon deficit was in the range of -24% (Ernakulam) to a high of -59% (Wayanad) with an average of -34%. In addition, North East Monsoon is also very much deficit, as on date, the deficit varied between -28% in Pathanamthitta and -86% in Kozhikode with a mean of -62%. Many crops in tropical humid climate are weather sensitive, even small amount of moisture deficit can cause stress and yellowing of leaves and wilting are the primary symptoms.

      Therefore, farmers may consult nearby KVKs, Research Stations or Krishi Bhavans for confirming the cause of the symptom and appropriate measures may be taken up.
Soil water conservation measures:
a)    Application of mulches in the basin
b)    Providing shade with palm leaves or shade net
c)    Spraying black pepper leaves with 2.0% lime solution would help to reduce the stress.
d)    If water sources are available irrigate the crop with 10 to 15 liters of water per vine once in 10-15 days depending upon soil type. In water scare areas pitcher / bottle watering can be adopted.
e)    In severely yellowing vines an early harvest is advised to reduce the stress and thereby saving the pepper vines.
Prepared by
ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research

 Agrometeorological Advisories (Kozhikode District)

(Period: 11.02.2017 to 15.02.2017)

General Condition

 General conditions: There will be no rainfalls on coming days.

Caution: chemicals are harmful if handled unscientifically


Ripening phase - Drain out water from the fields completely for early and uniform hardening of the grains

.Late sown crops in eastern hilly tracts are in milky stage:

Gundhi bug: Apply Azadiractin 3000ppm stock after diluting in water @ 3ml/L. To have a better control add and stir one to two ml. of Malathion 50EC per litre of the diluted Azadiractin solution before applying. The spraying should be done in the evening, immediately after sunset.


Various growth stages: Rugose White fly

The flies are seen colonized in a spiral manner on the ventral side of the lower leaves. The
fluid secretion from the flies favours growth of black colour fungus, which in turn reduce the
photosynthetic area of the leaves. Follow good agricultural practices to strengthen the immunity system of the palms. Give balanced nutrition after soil testing. Add 500g extra potassium per palm in addition to the regular application. Give micro nutrient mixture, “Ayar”, also @ 500g/palm


Bearing stage: Root and stem borer

Chisel out the grubs and swab the tree trunk with Acephate 2g/l of water. Swabbing (adult trees only) with coal tar kerosene mixture at 1:2 proportion is also recommended. Control the
weeds and maintain field sanitation

Black pepper

Wilt: Protect vines from direct sunlight.


Different growth phases: Pseudo stem weevil

If any incidence of pseudo stem weevil, swab the pseudo stem and fill leaf axils with diluted
Acephate +wetting agent (Acephate® 75SP @ 2g+wetting agent 1ml per litre of water).



Various crops

Sucking pests: The prevailing dry humid climate is favourable for the spread of sucking pests like mealy bug, jasids, aphids, mites, bugs etc. To control the pests apply neem oil emulsion (5 ml. neem oil mixed in one litre of luke warm soap water solution)


Bittergourd at different growth phases: Downy mildew

Apply „Mancozeb‟(@ 2g/l of water). If disease appeared, spray Akomin® (@3ml/L) on both
surfaces of the leaves, thrice at 15 days interval.


Animal Husbandry

Location specific vaccination and de-worming have to be given with the consultation of nearby veterinary doctor. Spray copper sulphate to control snails. Keep the surroundings dry and clean. The litters in the poultry house should be kept dry and turned frequently.



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Attention banana growers-root mealy bug-a new threat to banana cultivation.


                Banana plants of varieties Nendran and Rasthali grown in about three hectares of leased land at Poozhithode of Kozhikode district has been found to be severely infested with root mealy bug.

Symptomatology- The plants were at six months old stage. Five thousand five hundred plants were grown in the area of which about 120 plants were showing symptoms like creamy white discolouration of the last unfurled leaf and the leaf remaining unopened for longer duration, with a burnt like appearance at the tip. The feeder roots were found to be severely damaged with dead root hairs.

                Live stages of mealy bugs including immatures and adults were collected from the soil, confirming the severe incidence of mealy bugs in the soil. The banana suckers which were brought from nurseries of Mukkom and Kuttiadi areas and planted without proper curing is suspected to be the possible source of infestation. Similar cases have also been reported from Kelothvayal and Chathamangalam areas of the district.

Prevention is better than cure

Since suckers are suspected to be the possible source of infestation, spread of this serious pest is to be checked by prevention of use of suckers from infested areas within and outside the state. Dipping of suckers in boiled water for 10 seconds helps to destroy the live stages of mealy bug adhered to the sucker. Soil drenching of chlorpyriphos 20 EC @2.5ml per litre of water in the root zone may be taken up in consultation with the Agriculture Officers of the area.