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Climate change and disease epidemiology of twig and stem blight of cotton Punjab, Pakistan

Sumera Naz: Plant Pathology Research Institute, Ayub Agriculture, Research Institute, Faisalabad

<div>Shifting of weather and changing intensity of environmental gradient is creating serious threats for farm economy in Pakistan. It has created the need for intensive investigations on shifting of cropping calendar epidemic and sporadic rising of diseases and threats. Cotton (<em>Gossypium hirsutum</em> L.) is the main cash crop of Pakistan but raises concerns over continuous drop in cotton production since last few years. While conducting a diagnostic survey in the late summer of 2015, a twig and stem blight was observed in Khanewal and Bahawalpur districts, Punjab, Pakistan at several commercial cotton production fields. Later the problem emerged as burning issue and an extensive survey was conducted in Cotton Zone of Punjab, Pakistan. These locations exhibited disease prevalence ranged 23 to 60%. The morphology of the fungus was similar to <em>Lasiodiplodia</em> species. The pathogen expressed sensitivity against micro and meso climate of a region. The higher disease index in Khanewal and Bahawalpur districts of Punjab was due to irregular pattern of higher rainfall and early sowing. Knowledge of the disease and associated promoting factors of climate and crop management yet need experimental elaboration. The studies on climate based factors of epidemiology are in progress. However initial investigations strengthen the involvement of irrigation technique, soil type and cropping history in introduction and sporadic occurrence of the disease.</div>