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Rational Management of Didymella rabiei in Chickpea by Integration of Genotype Resistance and Postinfection Application of Fungicides

August 2000 , Volume 90 , Number  8
Pages  834 - 842

D. Shtienberg , H. Vintal , S. Brener , and B. Retig

First and second authors: Department of Plant Pathology; third and fourth authors: Department of Field Crops, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, P.O. Box 6, Bet-Dagan 50250, Israel

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Accepted for publication 13 April 2000.

Various aspects of the integration of genotype resistance and chemical control of Ascochyta blight (caused by Didymella rabiei) in chickpea were examined in field experiments from 1993 to 1999 and in greenhouse experiments. Four commercially available chickpea cultivars representing a range of resistance to D. rabiei were used. The efficacy of chemical control in a highly susceptible cultivar was significantly (P < 0.01) related to the conduciveness of the environment to the pathogen. Adequate disease suppression (>80% control) was achieved when weather supported mild epidemics, but insufficient control (<20%) was achieved when weather supported severe epidemics. The contribution of genotype resistance to disease suppression in a moderately susceptible cultivar varied from <10% when weather supported severe epidemics to ≈60% when weather supported mild epidemics. Spraying a moderately resistant cultivar resulted in 95% control when weather supported mild epidemics, but only 65% control was achieved when weather supported severe epidemics. The existing level of resistance in a moderately resistant cultivar resulted in 70% control when weather supported severe epidemics; fungicides improved control efficacy significantly to >95%. Under mild epidemics, moderate resistance alone provided >95% control. The level of genotype resistance available in a highly resistant cultivar was sufficient to suppress the disease under all weather conditions, even without application of fungicides. The possibility of relying on postinfection rather than prophylactic application of fungicides was tested in the greenhouse and in four field experiments. Activity of the systemic fungicide tebuconazole was detected when the fungicide was applied up to 3 days postinfection, and application of tebuconazole or difenoconazole in the field as a postinfection treatment (i.e., after rain or overhead irrigation) suppressed the disease as effectively as preventive applications and required fewer sprays. In two experiments, the interaction between genotype resistance and chemical control at various amounts of irrigation applied via overhead sprinklers (as a simulation of rain) was tested. The results show that both the level of genotype resistance and the quantity of water should be taken into account in deciding whether to apply a postinfection spray.

Additional keywords: epidemiology, IPM, legume crops, systemic fungicides.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society