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Yield of Maize in Relation to Natural Field Infestations and Damage by Lepidopteran Borers in the Forest and Forest/Savanna Transition Zones of Cameroon

  • R. Ndemah (a1) and F. Schulthess (a2)

Abstract

The effect of infestation of lepidopteran borers on yield of maize was assessed at three locations in the forest and forest/savanna transition zones of Cameroon, during the first and second season of 1992. Maize was treated once or twice with the systemic carbofuran at different developmental stages. The species encountered were the stem-boring noctuids Busseola fusca and Sesamia calamistis, which oviposit on and attack pre-tasseling stages of maize; the stem-boring pyralid Eldana saccharina, which attacks plants at and after tasseling; and two ear borers, namely the pyralid Mussidia nigrivenella and the tortricid Cryptophlebia leucotreta. Generally, carbofuran reduced infestations by B. fusca and S. calamistis but had little or no effect on species attacking the plant's later stages. Thus early treatments with granules into the whorl were more efficient than late treatments as a side dressing, and a second late treatment had little effect. During the first season, late-attacking species were predominant and grain yield losses of 17–44 % were found in one location only. During the second season, species attacking young plants (mainly B. fusca) became predominant in all three locations and yield losses of 30 to 41 % were found in two of the three locations. The percentage of ears with damage was especially high during the second season. As green maize is an important source of cash income in the area and damaged ears cannot be sold, the economic loss was likely considerable.

L'effet d'infestation des lepidoptères foreurs des tiges et épis sur le rendement de maiïs a été evalué à trois sites dans les zones de forêt et de la transition forêt/savanne du Cameroun, pendant la première et deuxième saison de pluies de 1992. Le maïs a été traité une ou deux fois à des differentes stades de developpement avec l'insecticide systémique carbofuran. Les espèces rencontrées etaient les noctuides foreurs des tiges Busseola fusca et Sesamia calamistis qui pontent leurs oeufs et attacquent le maïs en pre-floraison; le pyralide foreurs des tiges Eldana saccharina, qui attacque les plantes en et après la floraison; et deux foreurs d'épis; le pyralide Mussidia nigrivenella et le tortricide Cryptophlebia leucotreta. En genérale, le carbofuran a reduit l'infestations par B. Fusca et S. calamistis mais avait peu ou pas d'effet sur les espèces attacquant la plante tard. En effet, les traitements avec les granules dans le cornet avant la floraison etaient plus efficaces que les traitements dans le sol à cóté du pocquet après la floraison et une deuxième traitement avait peu d'effet. Pendant la premiere saison les espèces qui attacquent tards etaient abondantes et les pertes en graines de 17–44% ont été aperçues dans une seul site. Pendant la deuxième saison, les espèces attacquants les jeunes plantes (essentiallement B. fusca) sont devenues abondantes dans toutes les trois sites et les pertes de 30 à 41% ont etaient perçues en deux des trois sites. Le pourcentage des épis avec degats etaient significativement élevés pendant la deuxième saison. Comme le maïs frais est une source important dans la region et des épis attacqués ne peu être vendus, la perte economique etait importante.

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Yield of Maize in Relation to Natural Field Infestations and Damage by Lepidopteran Borers in the Forest and Forest/Savanna Transition Zones of Cameroon

  • R. Ndemah (a1) and F. Schulthess (a2)

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