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Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease

Co-infection of Maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV) and sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV)
  • Use certified seed and varieties recommended by local extension services and national agricultural bodies. Do not recycle maize seeds from your field
  • Eliminate host plants (weeds) of thrips, aphids and plant hoppers and clear/burn grasses around the field, both potential sources of the insect vectors
  • Avoid planting maize if an infected field is less than 500m away
  • Plant early with fertilizer and manure to enhance crop nutrition and vigour
  • Synchronize planting date among farmers of the area to break continuous disease spread between fields
  • Avoid moving plants from infected to non-infected regions to reduce the spread of the disease
  • Avoid walking through established fields since the virus can be physically transmitted on clothes
  • Practice strict crop rotation for at least 2 seasons with non-cereal crops like beans, garlic, onions and vegetables
  • Inspect the field every 3-4 days for symptoms. Monitor as well vectors (thrips, aphids and plant hoppers) in the morning once per week under the leaves from crop emergence onwards
  • All stages of plant growth are affected and the earlier the plant becomes infected, the greater the damage
    • First symptoms are a scattering of small yellow areas (mottling) on leaves which eventually merge. The leaves become paler, and then the edges turn brown and dry inwards
    • In some plants the young leaves die before they have expanded, producing a ‘dead heart’
    • Distorted and shrivelled ears
    • Little or no grain produced
    • Dwarfing and premature aging of plants
    • Death of the plants
  • The disease can be confused with maize streak virus which has thinner yellow stripes that do not merge and there is no marginal browning and drying up
  • Act immediately when symptoms are noticed on one plant
  • Remove infected plants showing symptoms to reduce the local spread of MLND, burn or bury 1m deep
  • Collecting and burning of plant remains to reduce the spread of the disease must be done on a large scale to be effective

CREATED/UPDATED: September 2016
PRODUCED BY: Plantwise