RADA issues new warning on beet army worm
The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is advising scallion and onion farmers in south St Elizabeth to step up the monitoring of their fields to detect any re-infestation by the beet army worm, which could result from recent rains.
In a release on Thursday, the agency warned that the recent rainfall has resulted in rapid plant growth, which could provide more food for the pests. This could result in their resurgence and the devastation of onion and scallion crops if the pest's presence is not detected early and effective control measures put in place.
With conditions ideal for the expansion of the beet army worm population, farmers must be vigilant and take action to mitigate its spread, and are advised to contact the agency if they have any questions or concerns.
FIGHTING THE PEST
They are advised to take the following steps with immediate effect:
Intensely monitor crops at least twice a week or every three days.
Continue to utilise pheromone traps as a monitoring tool to detect the early arrival of migrating beet army worms.
Monitor for early detection of egg sacs deposited on the tip of leaves, and the emergence of newly hatched worms within three days. This is critical as these are the most vulnerable and susceptible stages where cultural and chemical strategies are to be applied. Handpicking is recommended where practical.
Use environmentally friendly products which encourage the presence of natural enemies of beet army worms.
Manage all weeds within and surrounding the fields which may harbour the pest.
Provide adequate nutrition to the crop.
For further information please contact your nearest RADA office 1-888-ASK-RADA or the Research and Development Division, Plant Protection Unit (Bodles Research Station) in St Catherine.