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Management Of Ear Cockle In Wheat 

Are you familiar with the notorious ear cockle disease in wheat? Ear cockle disease is caused by the pesky nematode Anguina tritici, which can wreak havoc on your precious wheat crops. But fear not, our article will guide you to understand more about ear cockle disease including its management measures. Get ready to empower yourself and protect your wheat fields from this relentless nematode invader. 

Wheat gall nematode is known to be the first plant parasitic nematode, causing ear cockle disease in wheat and rye crops. This nematode also acts as a carrier of bacterial yellow slime ear rot (tundu disease) caused by Corynebacterium tritici. Cool and moist weather favors the development of wheat gall nematodes. 

Type of infestation

  • Primary infestation usually occurs through the infected seed. 
  • Secondary infestation is caused by the second larval stage of nematode, which remains inside the cockle (gall) to carry on the life cycle. 

Scientific Name: Anguina tritici 

Most Affected States

Ear Cockle disease is prevalent in almost all wheat growing regions of the country. But heavy infestation of this nematode has been reported in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan. 

Symptoms of Wheat Ear Cockle

Below are a few signs which helps you to detect wheat gall nematodes infestation in your wheat fields, 

  • You can observe the symptoms of gall nematodes on leaves, stems and heads of the wheat plants. 
  • Wrinkled, rolled or twisted leaves can be seen. 
  • Affected plants may exhibit stunted growth.  
  • Infected heads are shorter and broader compared to healthy ones and retain their green color for an extended period. 
  • The presence of hard, dark-brown or black cockles or galls can be observed, which replaces grains either partially or entirely within the ear. 
  • The cockles remain filled with nematode larvae and when they are soaked in water, you can see larvae coming out from them. 

Control Measures

Follow the below listed management strategies to effectively prevent and control the wheat gall nematode infestations. 

Cultural Measures

  • Use certified or gall free seeds for planting. 
  • Sow seeds in uninfested soil to achieve healthy plant growth. 
  • Clean the contaminated seeds either by sieving or floating in water. 
  • Leave the land fallow for at least one year to eradicate nematode from the fields. 
  • Practice crop rotation with non-susceptible crops to reduce the buildup of soil inoculum. 
  • Putting the seeds in hot water at the temperature of 54-56°C for 10-12 minutes helps to kill nematodes. 

Biological Measures

  • PerfoNemat is residue free, nematode suppressor, based on the Dialdehyde mixture which has a contact-based curative action on nematodes. Drench Perfonemat at the rate of 2 ml per liter to effectively control wheat gall nematodes. 
  • Anand Dr Bacto’s Nemos is an ecofriendly biological nematicide containing Paceillomyces lilacinus, which is highly effective in controlling nematodes. For an acre, apply 2 litre of Nemos either by drip irrigation or soil application. 

Chemical Measures

  • There is no chemical solution available for controlling wheat gall nematodes. However, farmers can effectively manage nematode infestation by adopting cultural and biological measures. These measures, when carried out diligently, offer a reliable approach to mitigate nematode damage in wheat crops. 

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