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Striga spp. in Sorghum

Striga hermonthica and Striga asiatica witchweed (English); akenchera (acanthera), yemeher kitigne, atikur (Amharic); deeso (0); metsellem (Tigre)
  • Use certified seed to reduce chances of field contamination
  • Seeds are transported by water - Prevent runoff water from infested land to prevent seed introduction
  • Seeds are spread by animals - do not allow livestock into an affected area to avoid spread
  • Seeds travel by vehicles, human beings, animals and on machinery - clean equipment after work in infested areas
  • Control of Striga plants before setting seeds to prevent future spread
  • Control of alternate hosts like wild sorghum and couch grass to prevent spread
  • Use of Striga resistant/tolerant sorghum varities (Gobiye, Abshir, Birhan, Hormat and Gedo in Ethiopia) along with high soil fertility and water conservation measures
  • Crop rotation with non-host crops, legumes and fallows may help to deplete seed bank
  • Additional relevant crops: maize, finger millet and pearl millet
  • Annual, broadleaved, parasitic herb (30-100cm high); erect, sometimes creeping. Always associated with host in the grass family. Stems are four-sided, branched or unbranched with rough hairs and opposite leaves. Leaves green (2-8cm long), narrow, sparsely covered in rough hairs. Flowers bright pink, rose-red and/or white (1cm long), arranged in spikes (6-10 flowers per spike)
  • Look for yellowish blotches in crop foliage about 1 cm long by 0.5 cm wide, even if the weed has not emerged. Uprooting may confirm the presence of young parasite seedlings on the root
  • Look for stunted crop growth, wilting and chlorosis
  • The problem can be severe under low moisture stress, degraded and infertile soils
  • Light infestations can usually be controlled by hand pulling or hoeing before seed is produced
  • Uproot Striga before flowering
  • Mechanical methods of control are not generally satisfactory
  • Growing trap-crops (those that stimulate suicidal germination but do not host the parasite) such as cotton, groundnuts, cowpeas, soya beans, Desmodium
  • Improved soil fertility is a vital key to long-term control, whether by organic, inorganic or green manuring
  • Intercropping with legumes or relay cropping with multipurpose trees as in agroforestry techniques is beneficial
  • Use of chemical herbicides may lead to the development of herbicide resistance.
  • Improved soil fertility is a vital key to long-term control, whether by organic, inorganic or green manuring
  • Post-emergence application of 2,4-D (0.5 - 1.00 kg a.i/ha ) may be used to kill emerged S. hermonthica or to prevent it from maturing and setting seed in sole-crop cereals
  • 2,4-D: WHO Class II (Moderately hazardous) Can not be used in mixed cropping, e.g. in sorghum mixed with legumes
AUTHOR(S): Taye T. Amare F. and Frehiwot S. (EIAR)

PRODUCED BY: Plantwise

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