The Regional Crop Protection Center (RCPC) 6 encouraged all rice farmers to keep watch of their standing crop this first cropping season against four rice pests which may infest their fields.
According to RCPC Chief Rene B. Famoso, these four rice pests comprised of armyworm/tagustus, rice black bug (RBB), brown planthopper (BPH) and stemborer.
He said that these pests usually proliferate after a long dry spell or El Niño and when there are intermittent rains and humid climate in the fields.
“The armyworm with dark color is the most dangerous compared to light brown or light yellow/green colored ones. This kind totally infested 31 hectares of corn in San carlos City, Negros Occidental wherein the DA, PLGU together with the local government unit immediately gave assistance to affected farmers for replanting, said Famoso.
Rice farmers should keep watch for the influx of rice black bug (RBB). As of July 2016, seven municipalities in the province of Capiz, four districts of Iloilo and whole of Negros Occidental reported presence of RBB which usually attack rice at vegetative stage until fruiting with damage usually called bugburn and whiteheads, respectively.
Famoso said that the brown planthopper (BPH) frequently hide underneath the canopy of the rice plant and stay on rice stalks where they suck the plant juice while the stemborer larvae go inside the plant in less than 24 hours after hatching.
Management of these pests include sanitation or cleaning of surroundings and dikes before crop establishment and water management i.e. irrigating the field to control armyworm, rice black bug and stemborers while draining the field for management of brown planthopper population.
Fertilizer management which include split application of nitrogen, and application of ½ bag of potassium to increase plant vigor during the first 30 days after planting. Potassium application is a general recommendation in the absence of soil analysis, minus one element technique and leaf color chart reading.
For armyworm, farmers could also use grated coconut (ugasip) or brown sugar broadcasted to the infected field in order to attract ants which will prey on the said pests. The RCPC at WESVIARC, Hamungaya, Jaro, Iloilo City is mass producing Metarhizium anisopliae an effective biological control against RBB. The fungus is given free to farmers with letter requests noted by the municipal agricultural officer.
Famoso an Entomologist of DA 6 emphasized that the application of chemicals should be the last recourse of the farmers. He said that contact chemicals should be used to control armyworm and should be applied late in the afternoon.#(JEEOgatis)