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Economically Important Pest And Diseases

Foliar Diseases

Alternaria species affects all aerial parts of the plant such as the leaf, petiole, stem, floral parts and seeds of sunflower plants during emergence and throughout the growing stages of the plant (Malone and Muskett, 1997).

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Soybean Looper

The soybean looper is very similar and often confused with cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni) where they occur simultaneously (Smith et al., Undated). The destructive stage of this pest is the caterpillar stage which is identified as a light green caterpillar with white thin lines running the length of its body.

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The Act on Agricultural Pests (Act No. 36 of 1983) declares Quelea and locusts as a plague, and therefore the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is responsible for its control. Quelea is a finch species endemic to Africa and is a nationally declared pest in the Republic of South Africa. This pest birds migrate between South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The largest local colonies red-billed quelea migrate between South Africa and Botswana.


Wheat Blast

Wheat blast notoriously devastated wheat production in Brazil during its first outbreak in 1985 and had previously been constrained in the Americas. In February 2016, the fungal disease escaped the Americas for the first time to attack wheat fields across eight districts in Bangladesh and neighbouring countries such as India. The pest can cause yield losses reaching up to 100%.