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Dick, Kenneth (1988)
Publisher: Overseas Development Natural Resources Institute
Languages: English
Types: Other
Subjects: S1, SB
African farmers operate traditional methods of integrated pest control when storing maize. They dry the maize well, store it on the cob in suitable structures and avoid protracted storage whenever possible. Such traditional methods are reasonably effective and studies have shown that under normal conditions they can keep losses down to less than 5% per year (Adams, 1977; Golob, 1981 a and 1981 b). Recent changes in farming systems have, however, interfered with traditional storage practices, resulting in the more frequent occurrence of serious losses. In particular, where high-yielding varieties of maize have been introduced, a dramatic increase in losses has often resulted. Other changes in farming systems have affected cropping patterns, causing farmers to store maize that is too wet, increasing its susceptibility to attack by insects and fungi.\ud The recent accidental introduction of the larger grain borer (Prostephanus truncatus) into Africa has added a new dimension to these problems, through its remarkable ability to damage well-dried maize, even when stored on the cob. This beetle is currently a more serious pest in parts of sub-Saharan Africa than in its native Central America, indicating that in Africa there are ecological, agricultural or socio-economic factors associated with maize storage which favour its success. Certainly, where P. truncatus has become established in Africa, it has commonly increased the loss levels sustained in traditional maize stores to a point at which intensified pest control by the farmer is an economic necessity (McFarlane, 1988). \ud There is thus a need to revise recommended methods for the control of insect pests of maize in farm storage, taking into account the changes which have reduced the effectiveness of traditional practices. This bulletin attempts to summarize available data from studies of pest infestation in traditional maize stores, relevant to current and future research in this field. The emphasis on P. truncatus in parts of the text reflects the importance currently attached to the development of integrated pest management strategies for this pest, in order to limit its spread in maize-producing regions of Africa.
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