Though it is a common occurrence to find insects, rodents or vertebrates on cassava farms, some pose a serious threat to farm yields, as well as affect the soil. These insects and rodents, commonly called pests, feed on and wreak havoc on cassava leaves, stems, and even young cassavas. Below are some biological tips and pest control techniques for cassava farming.
Plant Cassavas on Well-drained Soil
When cassavas are planted on a poorly-drained soil then there is a huge possibility of experiencing root rots on the plants. This is because root rots take place when the soil is not adequately drained; especially during intense rain. To further prevent this, cassavas should be planted on light-textured soil.
Plant Healthy Cassava Stakes
The first pest control technique for cassava farming is planting healthy cassava stakes. Healthy stakes should be gotten from a healthy mother plant to avoid getting already contaminated stakes for planting. Planting healthy material obtained from healthy rooted buds is a good way to adequately manage pest on a cassava farm.
Sterilize Farm Tools Before Usage
One of the easiest ways to prevent bacteria blight from invading a cassava farm is by immersing farm tools in hot water before using. Also, tools should be sterilized with effective disinfectant to prevent diseases already on the tools from contaminating the plants.
Remove and Burn Affected Plants
As soon as disease infestation is detected in a cassava farm, the affected plants should be uprooted and burned. Removing and burning the affected plant is a way to prevent the disease from further spreading to other cassava roots in the farm.
Reduce Pest with Intercropping:
One of the common pests capable of posing a serious threat to a cassava farm is whitefly through the infestation of the cassava plants with a disease known as ‘cassava mosaic’. To control whiteflies biologically, farmers should engage in intercropping. Plants such as maize can be inter-planted on a cassava farm to enable the natural enemies of the pest feast on them. Although this can be controlled with pesticides, it is important to note that exposing the soil to so many pesticides can affect the ecosystem of the farmland.
Use Fertilizers to Improve Soil Resistance
To reduce and manage the negative effect of cassava mites which affect the root of cassava plants, farmers are advised to use fertilizers. This is because fertilizers will help the plants have long-lasting vigour. Resistant and tolerant varieties or introducing natural enemies can also be used to manage cassava mites. Applying adequate amount of fertilizer can also go a long way to enhance crop resistance and tolerance capacity. Fertilize more especially with potassium.
Do Crop Rotation
To further prevent carrying over disease from the previous planting season to the new planting season, farmers should rotate crops planted on their farmland. This way, the pest’s peculiar to cassava farm will naturally vacate the farmland or get feasted upon by the natural enemies.
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