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Utilisation of Wild Gramineous Plants for Management of Cereal Stemborers in Africa

  • Z. R. Khan (a1), P. Chiliswa (a1), K. Ampong-Nyarko (a1), L. E. Smart (a2), A. Polaszek (a3), J. Wandera (a4) and M. A. Mulaa (a4)...

Abstract

Field trials in Kenya demonstrated that the forage grass, Sorghum vulgare sudanense (Sudan grass) attracted greater oviposition by stemborers than cultivated maize, resulting in significant increase in maize yield. On the other hand, the non-host forage plant, Melinis minutiflora (molasses grass), when inter-cropped with maize, repelled gravid stemborer females from ovipositing on maize, resulting in significant reduction in stemborer infestation. Using these trap- and repellent gramineous plants, a novel pest management approach based on a ‘push-pull’ or stimulo-deterrent diversionary strategy is being developed where stemborers are repelled from the food crop and are simultaneously attracted to a discard or trap crop. The plant composition and permanence of habitat surrounding maize fields also influence the abundance of natural enemies that invade agroecosy stems once a pest population is present. It may be advantageous to promote the growth of native Gramineae and other wild plants which minimise, or even suppress, population growth of pests during non-cropping seasons, but still provide a suitable habitat for natural enemies.

Des essais de terrain au Kenya ont prouvé que l'herbe fourragère, Sorghum vulgare sudanense (herbe du Soudan) attirait plus de foreurs de tiges pour la ponte que le maïs cultivé, entraînant une augmentation significative de la récolte de maïs. D'autre part, la plante fourragère non-hôte, Melinis minutiflora (herbe mélasse), une fois en culture mixte avec le maïs, empêchait des foreurs de tiges femelles gravides de pondre sur le maïs, ce qui réduisait significativement l'infestation du maïs par les foreurs de tiges. L'utilisation de ces plantes graminées pièges et répulsives, une approche nouvelle du contrôle des ravageurs basée sur une strategie diversionniste de ‘pousse-tire’ ou de ‘stimulation-deterrence’ est en train d'être dévelopée là où les foreurs de tiges sont repoussés loin des cultures de consommation et sont simultanément attirés vers une plante rebut ou piège. La composition botanique et la permanence de l'habitat entourant les champs de maïs influencent aussi l'abondance des ennemis naturels qui envahissent des agroécosystèmes dès qu'une population de ravageurs est présente. Il serait avantageux de promouvoir la croissance des graminées indigènes et d'autres plantes sauvages qui minimisent ou même inhibent la croissance des populations des ravageurs durant les saisons de jachère, tout en assurant un habitat favorable pour les ennemis naturels.

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