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The Importance of Handling Pests and Diseases in Maintaining the Health of Rice Plants

Rice pests
Rice pests (Rice pests)

In the cultivation of rice plants, it will not be separEated from the threat of pests and diseases that often attack these plants. If the control of pests and diseases is not correct, it can reduce the productivity of the rice plant. Therefore, farmer knowledge is needed to recognize the types of pests and diseases of rice plants so that farmers can identify and apply appropriate, fast and accurate controls. By controlling pest and disease attacks, the goals of cultivation activities will be achieved.

Types of Pests and Diseases that Attack Rice Plants

Pests and diseases of rice plants are a serious threat to farmers today. Various methods are used by farmers to control these pests. At least there are several types of rice pests and diseases that farmers should be aware of and anticipate. Here are some of them:

1. Rats

Rats (Rattus argentiventer) are the most destructive pests in rice cultivation, because they cause damage to all phases and levels of plant growth. Rats attack starting from the seeding stage, transplanting to harvesting, and even attack until the warehouse storage. The worst damage caused by rat attacks occurs when rat pests attack plants in the generative growth phase, because plants that are attacked in that phase will no longer be able to form new tillers. Rats attack at night and during the day they hide in holes in the embankments, bunds and areas around the fields. 

2. Planthoppers

Planthoppers are insects that suck plant liquids that are brown in colour. Body length 2-4.4 mm. The way this pest attacks rice is by sucking stem fluids and can transmit viruses such as tungro. This virus is considered dangerous for the development of rice. 

3. Golden Snail

Golden snails usually attack during the vegetative and nursery period. These pests are considered damaging because they graze on plant tissues for food. As a result, rice seeds per plant are lost. Symptoms of damage are young plants being eaten completely so that many clumps are lost, and one stalk of rice will be eaten by a snail for 3-5 minutes.

4. Rice Stem Borer

This pest is one of the main pests in rice plants. The pest first appeared before with butterflies or butterflies laying their eggs on the leaves of rice plants, moths or butterflies from the stem borer are not dangerous because they do not attack directly on rice plants. However, the eggs laid by these moths or butterflies should be monitored. Rice stem borers attack rice plants at all growth stages, from seeding to pre-harvest.

5. Stink Bug (Leptocorisa Oratorius)

Leptocorisa oraturius or walang sangit is a pest that attacks rice plants after flowering by sucking the liquid of the rice grains causing the rice grains to become empty or incomplete. The spread of this pest is quite wide. Walang sangit is an important pest and can cause up to 50% yield loss. If rice is attacked by walang sangit, the quality is not good, for example, it looks wrinkled and brown. Additionally, the taste of the affected grains becomes unpleasant.

6. Bacterial Leaf Blight (BLB) or Kresek Disease

BLB or Kresek disease is caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv oryzae. Symptoms start from the edges of the leaves, which turn greyish and gradually dry out. The dry area will further extend towards the veins until the whole leaf looks dry. If the infection occurs during flowering, it affects the grain-filling process, resulting in incomplete grain-filling or even empty grains. Under these conditions yield loss can reach 50-70%.

7. Blast Disease

Blast can infect rice plants at all growth stages. Typical symptoms on the leaves are rhombus-shaped spots wide in the middle and tapering at both ends. The spots are approximately 1-1.5 cm and develop to a grey colour in the centre. If the infection occurs in the vertebrae of the stem and panicle neck (black neck) it will turn the infected panicle neck into black and broken, similar to the symptoms of the stem borer.

How to Exterminate Pests and Diseases that Attack Rice Plants:

1. Rats

Integrated rat pest control (PHTT) is based on an understanding of rat species ecology, carried out early, intensively and continuously by utilizing appropriate and timely control technology. Rat control is emphasized at the beginning of the growing season to suppress the initial rat population from the beginning of the plantation before the rats enter the reproductive period. These activities include mass gropyok, habitat sanitation, and installation of FFB (Trap Barrier System) and LTBS (Linear Trap Barrier System).

2. Planthoppers

  • Use brown planthopper-resistant varieties.
  • Apply potassium fertilizer to reduce damage.
  • Monitor the crop at least every 2 weeks.
  • If the pest population is below the economic threshold, use botanical insecticides or entomopathogenic fungi (Metarhizium annisopliae or Beauveria bassiana).
  • If the pest population is above the economic threshold, use the recommended chemical insecticide.

3. Golden Snail

  • During the early stage of the rice plant (0-25 days), rice fields need to be dried in a messy state so that the snails cannot crawl towards the rice clump to be attacked. Even if attacked, the attack percentage is below the damage threshold.
  • Create ditches around the planting area so that the snails can assemble and then destroy them.
  • Clean water channels from aquatic plants like water spinach prevent them from becoming alternate food sources for the golden snails.

4. Rice Stem Borer

  • Using superior varieties that have the ability to produce new tillers to compensate for the damaged ones, such as pb36, ir77, pb32, or ir66.
  • Processing and flooding the fields after harvest.
  • Spread the straw and dry it in the sun so that the larvae in the straw die.
  • Cut the tip of the leaf blade before transplanting. The eggs of the yellow stem borer are usually laid near the tip of the leaf blade. Thus, the number of larvae can be reduced.
  • Apply systemic insecticides in the form of granules such as furadan, carbofuran or curater. The insecticide will be absorbed by the roots and enter the plant tissue so that the larvae will die when they eat the rice stalks.

5. Stink Bugs (Walang Sangit)

  • Control weeds in the fields and around the plantations.
  • Fertilize the land evenly so that plant growth is uniform.
  • Catch the walang sangit using nets before the flowering stage.
  • Bait the walang sangit using rotten fish, spoiled meat, or chicken droppings.
  • If the attack is reaching the economic threshold, spray insecticides.
  • Spray in the early morning or evening when the stink bug is in the canopy.

6. Bacterial Leaf Blight (BLB) or Kresek Disease

  • Using resistant varieties.
  • Avoid excessive use of nitrogen fertilizers.
  • Handle seedlings carefully during transplanting. Wounded seedlings will easily be infected with blight.
  • Practice shallow watering during the nursery stage.
  • Create good drainage when high inundation.
  • Maintain cleanliness of the field.

7. Blast Disease

  • Rotate the use of blast-resistant varieties.
  • Use nitrogen fertilizers as directed.
  • Strive for the right planting time, so that at the beginning of flowering there is not much dew and continuous rain.
  • Use a fungicide with the active ingredient methyl thiophanate or phosdiphen and casugamycin.
  • Proper seed treatment.

PT Pupuk Kalimantan Timur (Pupuk Kaltim) held Training on Pest and Disease Management in Rice Plant

In order to increase the capacity of farmers in promoting sustainable agricultural development, PT Pupuk Kalimantan Timur (Pupuk Kaltim) held a Training on Pest and Disease Management in Rice Plants for 30 members of the assisted farmer group "Sabar Waiting" for Nyerakat Kiri, Bontang Lestari Village, Bontang City, Monday (29/05/2023).

VP TJSL Pupuk Kaltim Sugeng Suedi, revealed that this activity was a continuation of Pupuk Kaltim's coaching for the Sabar Menanti farmer group after previously being provided with various knowledge and skills related to agricultural land management to fertilization.

This training is also a form of Pupuk Kaltim's support for the competency improvement program for extension agents and rice farmers, which is encouraged by the Ministry of Agriculture to develop the agricultural sector to support food security. So that in the future agricultural actors in Bontang City will be able to increase productivity and capacity optimally.

"This is also a form of Pupuk Kaltim's participation in encouraging increased competitiveness of local farmers, in order to be able to increase rice productivity so that in the future it can reach a wider potential," explained Sugeng.

Sugeng explained that increasing the agricultural capacity of the community is one of Pupuk Kaltim's focuses in supporting food security, as well as realizing the welfare of farmers through the development of various commodity potentials.

Through this training, the provision of knowledge received by assisted farmers can be applied to have a real impact on increasing production capacity, especially related to rice plant maintenance management so that it is free from pests and diseases.

"Pupuk Kaltim will continue to push for an increase in farmer productivity and agricultural output to the maximum in supporting food security in Bontang City. Similarly in the future, the assisted farmers are expected to be able to produce not only rice but also other commodities, and Pupuk Kaltim will always pay attention to supporting that." Sugeng added.

Representing the Bontang City Government, Debora Kristiani, Head of the Agriculture Sector of the Food Security, Fisheries and Agriculture Service (DKP3), appreciated the continued steps taken by Pupuk Kaltim in providing guidance and assistance to local farmers, which are expected to be able to boost food productivity in Bontang City.

She said that this aligned with the Bontang City Government's efforts to improve the quality of human resources, including in the agricultural sector so in the future it would be more productive and have an impact on the results of the commodities being managed.

"This activity is an effective step to increase agricultural capacity in Bontang City, where the provided education serves as a foundation for farmers to achieve maximum results in managing their rice commodities," said Debora.

She hopes that similar activities can run continuously so that the farmers who are members of the Sabar Menanti group are increasingly able to optimize the potential of rice farming by increasing the carrying capacity of the land, as well as handling pests appropriately and efficiently.

The Chairperson of the Sabar Menanti Farmers Group, Anas Taneng, expressed his appreciation and gratitude for Pupuk Kaltim's support in encouraging the productivity of rice fields in Nyerakat Kiri, through the education and assistance provided. According to him, this activity is very beneficial for all group members in implementing agricultural practices in an appropriate and integrated manner, so that in the future they can achieve maximum results.

"We express our gratitude for the assistance provided by Pupuk Kaltim, because this activity is very beneficial for farmers, especially increasing knowledge in managing agricultural land optimally," said Anas. (Nisa)

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