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A field assessment of the factors affecting horse hair blight (Marasmius equicrinis) in tea in the Ratnapura District

Authors:

NC Dassanayake ,

Department of Agricultural Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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WADP Wanigasundara,

Department of Agricultural Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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A Balasuriya,

Tea Research Institute, Talawakelle, LK
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MKSLD Amaratunge

Tea Research Institute, Talawakelle, LK
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Abstract

Horse Hair Blight (HHB) is an epiphytic fungus which is not considered phytopathogenic. However, under the hot and humid conditions prevailing in the low country, its proliferation in a habitat like tea bush canopies can cause heavy physical hindrance in major operations such as plucking and pruning. The objectives of this study were to identify the major contributory factors that influence the incidence of HHB in tea gardens while assessing the level of adoption of the recommended remedial measures. This study was conducted in tea gardens that go under water during floods and that do not, in Nivitigala and Elapatha Tea Inspector Ranges in Ratnapura. Primary and secondary data were collected and a field survey using pre tested structured questionnaires by visiting 104 randomly selected tea-small-holder-farmers. The severity of the problem in each field was assessed using the field disease key index and categorized as per the severity of disease spread. Approximately 86% of the surveyed sample has recorded HHB at different intensities. However, a majority of the cases were at moderate levels. Environmental factors seem to be the most important determinants to the occurrence of HHB. Highly significant relationships were seen between the HHB and shade level, soil texture, age of the crop and the type of cultivar. No yield reductions were observed due to HHB. However, it was found to affect the bush health. More than the social standing of the individual, the economic reasons, extent of skills of the available labour and the lack of awareness has an effect on the prevalence of the HHB.

Keywords: HHB-Horse Hair Blight; Tea; Low Country; Sri Lanka

DOI: 10.4038/jas.v4i2.1645

The Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 2009, vol. 4, no. 2 pp.59-66

How to Cite: Dassanayake, N. et al., (2010). A field assessment of the factors affecting horse hair blight (Marasmius equicrinis) in tea in the Ratnapura District. Journal of Agricultural Sciences. 4(2), pp.59–66. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jas.v4i2.1645
Published on 12 Mar 2010.
Peer Reviewed

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