Spatial distribution and density of Striga hermonthica (Del.) benth infestation associated with cereal production in southern guinea savanna farming systems

Abstract This study describes the distribution patterns of S. hermonthica infestation present in 117 farmers’ fields located in 61 villages in the three major cereal growing areas of Benue and Nasarawa states. A total of 1098 respondents were randomly selected proportionate to the number of households in all the zones. Striga count was taken using a quadrat and farmers’ fields were visually assessed using a five-category ranking (very high density,high density, medium, low, very low density) and recording the geo referenced data. On average, 67.3 and 3.2% of the surveyed area were infested with high and low density of Striga, respectively. The mean number of Striga plants per m2 was greater at Nassarawa State (one to eighteen plants m-2) than Benue State (one to twelve plants m -2). In Benue, the largest percentage of Striga infestation was recorded in Buruku (49.7%) and the lowest was obtained in Guma (38.3%). In Nassarawa, under sorghum cultivation, higher Strigadensties were recorded in Karu and Awe LGA; while Doma, Keana and Obi LGA recorded moderate Striga infestation. In both locations, Striga infestation was highest in sorghum fields; while millet fields recorded the least. About 40% and 35.4% of the farmers reported that new modern farming methods and Striga control copping strategies, respectively are received from Extension agents , during Monthly Technology Review Meeting (MTRM). The study has provided baseline information on the spread of S. hermonthica in the Southern Guinea Savanna of Nigeria and therefore, copping strategies for its control should be intensified.

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