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Prevalence, Incidence, and Severity of Sorghum Diseases in Western Kenya

    Authors and Affiliations
    • H. K. Ngugi
    • S. B. King , International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), P.O. Box 39063, Nairobi, Kenya
    • G. O. Abayo , Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Kibos National Sugar Research Centre, P.O. Box 1221, Kisumu, Kenya
    • Y. V. R. Reddy , ICRISAT, Patancheru P.O. Andhra Pradesh, 502 324, India

      Published Online:

      To assess the prevalence and severity of sorghum diseases in western Kenya, a 2-year survey was conducted (July 1995 and 1996), in 91 and 109 farmers' fields, respectively. Fields were generally <0.5 ha and production environment ranged from warm-humid to warm-semi-arid. Fourteen foliar and six panicle diseases were observed, with limited variation in disease prevalence and severity between the 2 years. The most common foliar diseases observed were (in decreasing order of prevalence) oval leaf spot (Ramulispora sorghicola), rust (Puccinia purpurea), ladder leaf spot (Cercospora fusimaculans), zonate leaf spot (Gloeocercospora sorghi), gray leaf spot (Cercospora sorghi), leaf blight (Exserohilum turcicum), and anthracnose (Colletotrichum sublineolum); with prevalence ranging from 95 to 97% of fields for oval leaf spot, and 44 to 65% of fields for anthracnose. Head smut (Sporisorium reilianum), was observed in 73 to 75% of fields, covered kernel smut (S. sorghi) 42 to 43% of fields, and loose smut (S. cruenta) 14 to 24% of fields. Head smut incidence was >25% in 3% of fields surveyed. Grain yield reduction from smut diseases alone was estimated to be 5%. Out of eight probability distribution functions compared, the double Gaussian model best described the frequency of disease severity levels for most diseases. Based on the best-fitting model, the proportion of fields with disease severity level thought to cause yield loss (severity rating >5 on a 1 to 9 scale, where 1 = no disease) was calculated as 26.6% for oval leaf spot, 15.3% for rust, 14.8% for anthracnose, 4.8% for ladder leaf spot, and 1.5% for leaf blight. The production environment influenced the prevalence of disease severity. Severe anthracnose, leaf blight, and ladder leaf spot were confined to fields in the humid LM1 and LM2 agro-ecological zones, rust was ubiquitous, and severe gray leaf spot was more prevalent in the dryer LM4 zone.