To determine the contribution of the interactive effect of weed control methods and fungicides application on groundnut growth, yield and quality, two experiments were conducted in the major and minor seasons of 2015 at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI), Kwadaso station. Experiments were factorial laid in RCBD with four replications and variety Yenyawso was planted. Weed control treatments in the major season were: 3X Hand weeding (HW), Butachlor (preemergence), Bentazone @ 3 weeks after planting (WAP), Propaquizafop @ 3 WAP + HW @ 5 WAP, Bentazone + Propaquizafop @ 3 WAP, Butachlor + Bentazone + Propaquizafop @ 5 WAP, and Butachlor + HW @ 5 WAP. Minor season weed control treatments were: Metolachlor (PRE), Imazethapyr (POST) @ 3 WAP, PRE + POST, PRE + HW @ 5 WAP, POST + HW @ 5WAP, PRE + POST + HW @ 5 WAP, 2X HW, and a Non-weeded control. Fungicide treatments were: No Fungicides application or Terbuconazole (4 and 6 WAP) followed by Azoxystrobin (5 and 7 WAP) for both seasons. No fungicides and herbicide interaction (p>0.05) were recorded due to the dry weather conditions in 2015, which did not support disease development, apart from the tolerance of the variety planted. Bentazone was effective on Commelina benghalensis while Imazethapyr effectively suppressed Commelina benghalensis and Euphorbia heterophylla. All weed control treatments except preemergence only or the non -weeded effectively (p<0 -2.3="" -="" .05="" 1.6="" 1.7="" 100="" 2-3x="" 2.1="" 2.2="" 43="" 71="" and="" density="" enhanced="" followed-up="" for="" growth="" ha.="" ha="" herbicides="" however="" hw="" in="" integration="" loss="" lots="" manual="" non-weeded="" of="" only="" peanut="" pod="" postemergence="" preemergence="" recorded="" reduced="" resulted="" seed="" similar="" the="" tons="" was="" weed="" weeding="" weight="" were="" with="" yield.="" yield="">0.05) regardless of treatments. While preemergence herbicides only or non-weeded treatments had ≤ 55% unfilled pods, ≤ 20% unfilled pods were recorded for other weed control treatments. Aflatoxin levels of fresh and dried seeds were very low (≤ 2.0 ppb). Herbicides – manual weeding integration reduced weed control time requirement by 55 – 70% relative to manual weeding only (64 -67 man-days/hectare/season). Cost of manual weeding was GH₵790.00 – 1,668.00 depending on farmer practice and herbicide – manual weeding integration reduced manual weeding cost by 26 – 66%.

1.1       Background
Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) has attained status as a food and cash crop due to its importance in both the domestic and export markets. Being the fourth most important oilseed crop and second most important source of vegetable oil in the world, its products are for both domestic and industrial use (Guchi, 2015; Kombiok et al., 2012).

Groundnut is cultivated in over 100 countries worldwide (Khidir, 1997). Developing countries cultivate 97% of the global area under cultivation and over 90% of the world’s groundnuts are produced in developing countries. The production of groundnut is concentrated in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (56% and 40% of the global area and 68% and 26% of the global production, respectively) (El Naim et al., 2010; Angelucci and Bazzucchi, 2013).

Groundnut production and area under cultivation in Ghana increased by 69 and 47% respectively between 1999 and 2010 even though production is done mainly by peasants with less than one hectare to four hectares of arable lands (Angelucci and Bazzucchi, 2013; Bolfrey-Arku et al,. 2006; Yussif, 2014). Though groundnuts form significant part of Ghanaian diet, production is constrained by poor cultural practices, inadequate pest (including weeds) and disease management practices coupled with improper postharvest handling which often leads to high levels of produce and product contamination. Consequently, aflatoxin levels in most products exceed those defined as safe for human consumption.

Early management of weeds within 3–6 weeks after planting is important in groundnut production because the crop is not able to compete effectively with weeds, particularly before flowering and during pegging (SARI, 2014). Prolonged weed-groundnut interference is a contributing factor to low haulm and pod yield. Early good weed control together with other agronomic practices if followed, promotes vigorous crop growth that can suppress subsequent weed growth (El Naim et al., 2010) especially crop cultivars with running growth habit.

Hand weeding (hoeing) is the most widely practiced cultural weed control method for most field crop production because of the assumed prohibitive costs of herbicides, fear of toxic residue coupled with the lack of knowledge on appropriate herbicides and rates for various crops including groundnut production (El Naim et al., 2010; Bolfrey-Arku, personal communication). Chikoye et al. (2007) reported that 50 – 70% of total labour time of the smallholder farmers is spent on hand weeding; while women provide more than 90% of the weeding labour (Ukekje, 2004). Thus, majority of farm women become so constrained and stressed, not having much time to engage in other socioeconomic activities.

Disease management practices are also rarely carried out during field production and /or post harvest handling, imposing a lot of stress on crop; this paves way for aflatoxin contamination (Guchi, 2015). Hence, developing countries are not able to sell large quantities of groundnuts on the international market because of aflatoxin contamination (FAO, 2002) and more than $750 million is lost due to aflatoxin contamination of groundnuts and other cereals (Coulibaly et al., 2008).

To mitigate these constraints was the inception of the Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Laboratory (PMIL), a collaborative project between the US and Ghana, aimed at improving groundnut production, storage and processing and as well encourages practices that will reduce aflatoxin contamination.

1.2       Problem statement
Smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa including Ghana realize 70% lower yields than on research fields mostly due to inappropriate and untimely weed and disease management practices as well as labour constraints. About 40% to 70% of agricultural cost of production worldwide is accounted for by labour and weed control alone is reported to constitute about 40% of the total farm labour. Previous surveys indicate that about 96% of groundnut farmers in Ghana rely on manual weed control (hoe – 91% and cutlass - 4%), whereas only 4% use herbicides. It is believed that most farmers in Ghana cultivate small areas principally because of weed control issues, and unavailability and high cost of labour for manual weed control in the production regions. Agricultural productivity consequently has become limited through time consumption, drudgery and increased monetary investments. Aflatoxin contamination of the rather limited yields also occurs and increases at all steps of the groundnut supply chain including production in the field. Hence, a well-timed weed and disease management practices including a comprehensive cost analysis are major key operations needed for yield and quality improvement for a sustainable groundnut industry.

1.3       Justification
It is evidently clear that, effective weed management and disease control regimes which remove weed interference and disease incidence will increase cultivated area and groundnut haulm, pod and kernel yield. Control of noxious weeds which affect pod development and create secondary pathways for pathogens and disease incidence will also improve pod and kernel quality. A combined method approach toward weed and disease management therefore has the potential to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of weed and disease control, reduce time spent on weed management, reduce cost of weed control, reduce the possible health risks involved in manual weeding (especially hoeing), increase cultivated area and yields, reduce stresses on the crop and hence aflatoxin incidence, and ultimately increase profit of both peasants and large scale farmers.

1.4       Main Objective
The major objective of the study was to assess pest and disease management options for enhanced groundnut productivity to mitigate aflatoxin incidence.

1.5       Specific Objectives
The specific objectives were to:

Evaluate the effect of herbicides and hand weeding on weed incidence and control.

Determine the interactive effect of herbicides and fungicides application on groundnut growth, yield, and pod and kernel quality/aflatoxin level.

Assess the economics of the weed management strategies.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Topic  |  Size: 88 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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