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Insect Pest Management in Sweet Sorghum

Insect Pest Management

  • Adopt synchronous and  timely/early  sowings  of  cultivars  with  similar maturity over large areas to reduce the damage by shoot fly, midge, and head bugs.

  • Apply balanced fertilizers having adequate N and P to promote better plant growth, that results in reduced damage by shoot fly and stem borers.

  • Use high seed rates, and delay thinning (to maintain optimum plant stand) to minimize shoot fly damage.

  • Rotate sorghum with cotton, groundnut, or sunflower, to reduce the damage by shoot fly, midge, and head bugs.  Intercropping sorghum with pigeonpea, cowpea, or lablab also reduces the damage by stem borers.

  • Collecting and burning of stubbles and chaffy earheads, and feeding the stalks to cattle before the onset of monsoon rains reduces the carryover of stem borers and midge.

  • Plant sorghum varieties with less susceptibility to insect, e.g., M 35-1, Phule Yashoda, ICSV 700 and ICSV 93046 are relatively less damaged by shoot fly and stem borers, while ICSV 745 and ICSV 88032 are resistant to sorghum midge.

  • Treat seeds with carbofuran (5% a.i.), thiamethoxam (9.0 ml/kg seed), or imidacloprid (0.165 mg/kg seed) to improve plant stand, seedling vigor, and reduce the damage by shoot fly and to some extent stem borer, and maize aphid.

  • When the shoot fly damage reaches 5 to 10% of the plants with deadhearts (Plate 1), the crop may be sprayed with cypermethrin 10 EC (750 ml/ha) or endosulfan 35 EC (350 g a.i./ha). Alternatively, carbofuran granules (5 to 7 granules/plant) may be applied in the leaf whorls (Plate 22).

  • For stem borers, dusts or granules can be applied in the whorl leaves of damaged plants or the entire field can be sprayed with endosulfan, fenvalerate, or cypermethrin.

IPM in Sweet SorghumApplication of carbofuran granules in the leaf whorl to control shoot fly and stem borer damage in sorghum


  • Neem seed kernel extract (5 kg/ha) or Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) formulations can be sprayed for the control of stem borers, armyworms, and head caterpillars.
  • For sorghum midge, the crop may be sprayed at the 50% flowering stage (1 midge/panicle) with endosulfan or cypermethrin.
  • For earhead bugs (1 to 2 bugs per panicle) and head caterpillars (2 – 3 larvae per panicle), the crop may be sprayed at the completion of flowering and at the milk stage with endosulfan or cypermethrin.


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