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Leaves key to rice blast losses

Results from a study of the variation in aggression of rice blast (Magnoporthe oryzae) isolates indicate that the best way to limit yield losses from the fungal pathogen may be to target control of the disease in leaf rather than neck tissue. Leaf epidemics tend to occur early in the crop cycle, during the vegetative stage, with disease peaking at maximum tillering followed by a sharp decline and a very low level from flowering until harvest. Neck blast appears later in the crop cycle, at flowering, and yield losses are much greater than those associated with leaf blast epidemics.

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