An experiment was conducted at Bako Agricultural Research Center for two cropping seasons (2007 and 2008) with the objective of determining the effectiveness of some locally available plant species (botanicals) in controlling covered smut (Sphacelotheca sorghi) of sorghum. The botanicals tested were Calpurnia aurea, Maesa lanceolata andVernonia amygdalina. These botanicals were compared with thiram (fungicide) as standard check and untreated check. Smut inoculated sorghum seed of variety Birrmash was treated with the filtrate of the crude aqueous extracts of the botanicals at the rate of 20 ml extract diluted with the same amount of water; 200 g of the seeds were treated and then air dried before planting. The first year result showed that M. lanceolatasignificantly (P≤0.05) controlled the disease more than the untreated check. Infection percentage and number of plants infected by covered smut were significantly (P≤0.05) reduced by thiram and M. lanceolata treatments. Statistically significant (P≤0.05) difference in yield was observed among the treatments. The second year result showed that, thiram and M. lanceolata significantly (P≤0.05) controlled the disease although the botanical was a bite lower to the fungicide in controlling the disease. The over all result indicated that the use of M. lanceolata leaf extract, as a seed treatment against sorghum smut is potentially useful for resource poor farmers of Bako and similar agro-ecological areas of Sub Saharan Africa. The two botanicals Vernonia amygdalina andCalpurnia aurea did not control the disease effectively.
Key words: Covered smut, sorghum, botanicals, leaf extract, bio-fungicide.
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