Influence of Metrological Parameters on the Development of Exserohilum turcicum (Pass.) Leonard and Suggs on Maize in Tanzania

Martin Royal Okechukwu Nwanosike, Robert B Mabagala,


Twenty maize varieties and inbred lines were used to determine the effect of weather parameters on the development of Exserohilum turcicum, in­citant of northern leaf blight disease in Tanzania. Artificially inoculated field ex­periments were conducted in Morogoro, Arusha, and Mbeya Regions in 2013 and 2014 in a 15 m² plot size, replicated three times in a randomized complete block design. The disease severity indexes were recorded at weekly interval from 65 days after sowing and subsequently for 5 weeks, while weather reports were obtained from Tanzania Meteorological Agency. Data were subjected to ANOVA, correlation coefficient, and coefficient of determination (R²), while means were separated using LSD (P ≤ 0.05). Results on disease severity index indicated high significant (P ≤ 0.05) differences in the region, year, and interaction between re­gion and year. Rainfall, relative humidity, and temperature significantly favored maize infection by E. turcicum in Mbeya, Arusha, and Morogoro to 76.1%, 58.3%, and 41.8%, respectively. Negative significant (P ≤ 0.05) correlation coefficients were found between minimum temperature and severity index in Morogoro (r = -0.694) and Arusha (r = -0.748) Regions while significantly positive correlation existed between relative humidity and severity index (r = 0.739) in Mbeya Re­gion. Although the weather parameters encouraged prevalence of northern leaf blight disease in all the regions, relative humidity (69%) in Mbeya favored high development of the pathogen, while minimum temperatures encouraged infec­tion in Morogoro (18.6ᵒC) and Arusha (14.2ᵒC) Regions.

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