EFFICACY OF RICE STRAW MULCH FOR THE CONTROL OF VECTOR AND VIRUS INCIDENCE IN POTATO
Keywords:Aphids, PVY, virus transmission, straw mulch, virus incidence, plastic mulch, vector, whitefly
The efficacy of rice straw mulch at reducing the landing rate and incidence of whiteflies and aphids and the subsequent reduction in virus infection in potato crops was evaluated in a preliminary study. The landing rate of aphids and whiteflies was considerably reduced in the mulched plots as compared to un-mulched plots. The whitefly and aphid trap catch were lowest for silver reflective mulch, followed by rice straw mulch and black plastic mulch on most of the sampling dates. No significant difference was found between the chopped and non-chopped rice straw mulch plots or rice straw mulch plots applied @ 5 or 10 t/ha for both aphids and whitefly trap catch. Further, no significant difference was noted between the mulched and non-mulched plots after 4th week of deployment of the mulches. The incidence of aphids and whitefly on potato plants indicated non-significant effect of mulches on most of the weekly samplings. The total tuber yield was not affected. Considerable reduction (36.10 to 44.43 %) in the incidence of virus symptomatic plants in the mulched plots was noted. It is concluded that rice straw mulching has the potential for use in potato IPM and should be evaluated at multiple locations and seasons.