Farmers urged to step up fight against beet armyworm
The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is encouraging farmers to practise integrated pest management to control the outbreak of the beet armyworm.
The IPM method takes into consideration environmental factors that affect the beet armyworm and its ability to thrive, which means that the farmers can create conditions that are unfavourable for the pest, while minimising the risks to people and the environment.
Senior Director, Division of Training, Technology and Technical Information at RADA, Winston Shaw, said farmers have a huge responsibility to stop the spread of the beet armyworm.
"We are encouraging farmers to work with the agency to get the most recommended IPM techniques as well as work with other senior and seasoned farmers who have had the requisite training from RADA," he said.
He also noted that the control of the beet armyworm is the application of several different methods, including chemical application, field sanitation, and proper disposal of waste crops.
COMBINATION OF METHODS
Shaw said that the most effective and long-term way to manage pests is by using a combination of pest management methods.
"Farmers need to manage their fields properly and this includes monitoring. In monitoring, we recommend that farmers scout the field at least twice per week, looking specifically for any sign of the beet armyworm, such as sacks, young worms or the adult bats," he explained.
Shaw said this would allow farmers to identify signs of infestation from early and apply quick preventative methods.
He pointed out that scouting and monitoring of the fields are inexpensive methods that should be utilised, saving farmers thousands of dollars in the long run. He added that the pheromone trap is a good monitoring tool.
Shaw is recommending that farmers practise good field sanitation.
"Farmers need to keep their field clean and free of weeds, rubbish and anything that the insect can hide under and thrive," he advised.
He noted that land preparation is also a recommended way of controlling or preventing the outbreak. The senior director said farmers should choose the right chemical and apply it in the correct manner.