News and knowhow for farmers

Soil roasting effective way of combating bacterial wilt

soil roastingSoil heat­ing sys­tem.

Bac­terial wilt is one of the soil-borne dis­eases that at­tack to­ma­toes, pota­toes, pep­per, cap­sicum, among other so­lanaceae fam­ily crops.

Bac­terial wilt causes massive loses and there is no ef­fect­ive rem­edy against this in­fec­tion. Farm­ers and ag­ribusi­ness com­pan­ies are roast­ing soil to kill the Ral­sto­nia so­lanacearum bac­teria be­fore grow­ing their to­ma­toes.

Wyc­liffe Ob­woge, an ag­ro­nom­ist, says massive roast­ing soil is not an easy task that is why farm­ers are pick­ing a few kilos of soil which they steam for hours.

“Con­trolling bac­terial wilt is not easy. But ex­pos­ing the soil to high tem­per­at­ures would kill the bac­teria. But a farmer must take soul to ex­perts to test and con­firm in­deed that it bac­terial wilt has in­fes­ted the farm,” he says.

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This method is most ap­pro­pri­ate given that farm­ers are mov­ing to plant­ing bags, which will pre­vent the soil from con­tam­in­a­tion.

The soil will re­main sterile and grow­ing for two sea­sons would need an­other ster­il­iz­a­tion.

Using a wooden mov­able box of about 2m by 2m by 2m, a farmer can lay per­for­ated metal­lic pipes at the base. They will boil water from a drum and dir­ect the steam into the pipes at the base of the wooden box.

The steam will rise from the pipes heat­ing the soil for about four hours. Ex­pos­ing the soil to more than 70 de­grees Celsius would kill the bac­teria and other use­ful mi­cro-or­gan­isms.

If the farmer in­ten­ded to use or­ganic ma­nure, it should be in­cluded in the soil, to avoid re-con­tam­in­a­tion.

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