Maize lethal necrosis (mln): signs and precautions

MLN  threatens to devastate maize production in the North Rift, Kenya’s grain basket, after farmers reported an unusual yellowing of their maize plants.

The disease, which is caused by a combination of Sugarcane Mosaic Virus and Maize Chlorotic Mottle Virus, makes the maize plant to wither and wilt before maturity. Plants appear weak, start shrinking with leaves turning yellowish and eventually they fall off and dry.

Maize Lethal Necrosis disease is spread through the air and farmers are advised to take these three immediate measures to contain further spread of the disease.
  • Destroy by burning any crop infected by the disease
  • Practice crop rotation for at least for two seasons by planting non-cereals such as potatoes, beans, onions as well as vegetables
  • Plant certified seed and avoid use of recycled seed
Farmers also need to apply manure, basal and top dressing fertilizers to strengthen the plants’ resistance to disease and pests.

Image: plantwise.org

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