Maize (Zea mays
L.) is the world’s most important cereal crop. It has a high yielding capacity and ranks third after wheat and rice in grain production. Maize is a rich source of nutrients; it contains about 72 per cent starch, 10 per cent protein and 4 per cent fat (Nuss and Tanumihardjo, 2010)
. Among all grain crops, maize has the highest genetic potential and is therefore considered the ‘Queen of cereals’. Maize is widely used in many fields such as feed, alcoholic beverages, food additives, cosmetics, food, chemical products and ethanol production. About 50-60 per cent of all corn production is consumed as food and nutrition and the rest is consumed in the oil industry, starch industry and dry milling industries such as corn-bread, sattu, corn chips and Dalia (Sharma et al., 2015).
Maize ranks fifth in the area and third in production in India. Maize has wider adaptability, palatability, quick growing habit and it provides quality fodder also for livestock. Good quality of fodder is required for livestock production and to meet the demand especially in rural areas (Rajkumara et al., 2020).
In India, about 28 per cent of total maize production is consumed as food, 48 per cent for livestock and only 12 per cent is consumed in milling industries (Singh and Misal, 2021)
. Handrid et al., (2020)
also reported that, with the increase of maize based industries there will be high demand of production, which can only be attained by controlling various diseases adversely affecting maize production worldwide. It has an area of about 9.70 million hectares having the production of about 30 million metric tons in 2020-2021 (USDA, 2021)
Various pathogens such as fungi, bacteria, viruses and nematodes are collectively about sixty factors that cause diseases in maize and have adverse effects on the produce (Payak and Sharma, 1980)
. Outbreaks appear to be exacerbated during various stages of development. Among the various diseases of maize, banded leaf and sheath blight (BLSB) caused by Rhizoctonia solani
f. sp. sasakii
Exner (Thanatephorus sasakii
) is considered most destructive. The pathogen belongs to the kingdom Fungi, phylum Basidiomycota, class Agaricomycetes, order Cantharellales, family Ceratobasidiaceae and genus Rhizoctonia
. De Candolle (1815)
described this genus. R. solani
f. sp. sasakii
is highly pathogenic and has a very wide host range (Binder et al., 2005).
Symptoms of the disease begin to appear on the leaves and sheath in 40-50 days older plants and later stages when the infection increases, the ear can also be infected. The pre-flowering stage is most affected by the disease. The rings formed by lesions can be noticed on the lower leaves and sheath also. In the early stages of infection, the plant produces globular to elongated bands (1-3 mm thick in diameter) that appear as water-soaked lesions. Under favorable weather conditions, the symptoms may extend to silk, glumes and grains. Keeping in view the economic importance, occurrence and spread of disease worldwide, the main purpose of this experiment was to evaluate the effect of various chemicals to manage banded leaf and sheath blight of maize, so that losses can be minimized.