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Archive for the ‘Crop protection’ Category

Horticulture Week Podcast: Fargro’s Richard Hopkins on sustainability, crop protection, energy and and inflation for UK growers

3 May 2022, by Matthew Appleby

Matthew Appleby and Richard Hopkins
Matthew Appleby and Richard Hopkins

https://embed.acast.com/61308c707f169200194a3cfd/626bf22ef8d6df0012755331

Fargro managing director Richard Hopkins discusses the environmental footprint of growing, focusing on sustainability and challenges in the field of  crop protection and renewals of active ingredients.

He sums up changes at the business, which has supported growers for more than 75 years, and speaks frankly about challenges presented by increased energy costs the industry is seeing.

Finally, he looks at what the future looks like for the sector.

Fargro offers efficient delivery of growing media, materials and equipment, advice on increasing yield, protecting your plants from pests, having access to the latest horticultural  solutions and flexible financial and energy services. 

Make sure you never miss a Horticulture Week podcast! Subscribe to or Follow Horticulture Week podcasts via Apple PodcastsSpotify or Google Podcasts or your preferred podcast platform. 

If you are interested in producing a podcast with Horticulture Week, contact matthew.appleby@haymarket.com. 

Listener feedback – please email hortweek@haymarket.com with “Podcast” at the beginning of the subject line.

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Potato farmers conquer a devastating worm—with paper made from bananas

Low-tech approach can quintuple yield and slash need for soil pesticide

Female Golden Nematode (Globodera rostochiensis)
These yellow cysts, attached to potato roots, each contain several hundred eggs that hatch into microscopic worms.USDA/SCIENCE SOURCE

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Potato cyst nematodes are a clever pest. These microscopic worms wriggle through the soil, homing in the roots of young potato plants and cutting harvests by up to 70%. They are challenging to get rid of, too: The eggs are protected inside the mother’s body, which toughens after death into a cyst that can survive in the soil for years.

Now, researchers have shown a simple pouch made of paper created from banana tree fibers disrupts the hatching of cyst nematodes and prevents them from finding the potato roots. The new technique has boosted yields five-fold in trials with small-scale farmers in Kenya, where the pest has recently invaded, and could dramatically reduce the need for pesticides. The strategy may benefit other crops as well.

“It’s an important piece of work,” says Graham Thiele, a research director at the International Potato Center who was not involved with the study. But, “There’s still quite a lot of work to take it from a nice finding to a real-life solution for farmers in East Africa,” he cautions.

Soil nematodes are a problem for many kinds of crops. For potatoes, the golden cyst nematode (Globodera rostochiensis) is a worldwide threat. Plants with infected, damaged roots have yellowish, wilting leaves. Their potatoes are smaller and often covered with lesions, so they can’t be sold. In temperate countries, worms can be controlled by alternating potatoes with other crops, spraying the soil with pesticides, and planting varieties bred to resist infection.

These approaches aren’t yet feasible in many developing countries, in part because pesticides are expensive and resistant varieties of potatoes aren’t available for tropical climates. In addition, small-scale farmers, who can make decent money selling potatoes, are often reluctant to rotate their planting with less valuable crops.

In Kenya, the potato cyst nematode has expanded its range and thrived. “The nematode densities are just so astonishingly high,” says Danny Coyne, a nematode expert at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. This is leading to an additional problem of biodiversity loss: Potato farmers are cutting down forests to create new fields free of the nematodes.

The idea that banana paper could help farmers rid their soil of nematodes was hatched more than 10 years ago. Researchers at North Carolina State University (NC State) were looking for a way to help farmers in developing countries safely deliver small doses of pesticides. They experimented with various materials. What works best, they found, is paper made from banana plants. Their tubular, porous fibers slowly release pesticides in the soil for several weeks before breaking down. By then, the plant has developed enough so that even if it does get infected, it already has a healthy root system.

In a field trial, researchers added abamectin, a pesticide that kills nematodes, to the paper. They also planted potatoes in banana paper without abamectin as a control. To their surprise, those plants grew nearly as well as the ones with pesticides. Coyne mentioned this puzzling result to a colleague, a chemical ecologist named Baldwyn Torto who studies the interactions between pests and plants at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology. “This is fascinating indeed,” Torto recalls thinking.

Together with Juliet Ochola, now a graduate student at NC State, Torto devised several experiments to figure out what was going on. The duo discovered the banana paper holds onto key compounds released from the roots of young potato plants, some of which attract soil microbes that benefit the plant. Nematodes have also evolved to notice these compounds. Some, such as alpha-chaconine, are a signal for nematode eggs to hatch. “If a lot of them hatch at the same time, they’re able to bust open the cysts,” Ochola says. After hatching, the young nematodes sense the compounds and use them to seek out the tender potato roots.

Banana fibers absorbed 94% of the compounds, Ochola and colleagues found. When they exposed nematode eggs to the exudates using the paper, the hatching rate decreased by 85% compared with not using the paper, the team reports today in Nature Sustainability. Other experiments suggested the nematodes that do hatch are far less likely to be able to find potato roots enclosed in the paper.

In nematode-infested fields in Kenya, Coyne and colleagues showed planting potatoes wrapped in plain banana paper tripled the harvest compared with planting without the paper. A tiny dose of abamectin in the paper—just five-thousandths of what would normally be sprayed on the soil—boosted the harvest by another 50%. Presumably, any nematodes that happened to come across the potatoes were then killed by the abamectin. “We’ve got a win here,” Coyne says.

Now, researchers are figuring out how to bring the wrap-and-plant paper to potato farmers in East Africa. Banana plantations in Kenya and nearby countries could supply the fibers, which are now discarded as a waste product. Paper manufacturers could then make the pouches. The biggest challenge, Coyne suspects, will be convincing farmers to buy the paper for the first time.

Once the farmers try the pouches, they’ll find them easy to use, the researchers say. “It’s just wrap and plant,” Ochola says. Simple, yes, but wrapping a lot of potatoes will still be laborious, notes Isabel Conceição, a nematode expert at the University of Coimbra. If a machine is developed to wrap the potatoes, she says, it’s possible the approach might also be feasible on larger farms that use mechanical planters.

Meanwhile, Coyne and his colleagues say they have encouraging results from trials with other tuber crops, such as yam and sweet potato. He also hopes many kinds of vegetables, planted as seeds or seedlings, could be protected from soil pests and pathogens with small pots or trays made from banana fiber, impregnated with various pesticides or biocontrol agents.

The appeal is natural: Banana paper is a biodegradable product, recycled from waste, and it could help protect both farmers and the environment. “We are reducing the amount of pesticides by so much,” Ochola says. “To me, I feel like that’s amazing.”


doi: 10.1126/science.ada1727

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PLANTS & ANIMALS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik Stokstad

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Erik is a reporter at Science, covering environmental issues. 

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FEBRUARY 21, 2022

Would micro-ecology be damaged by a plastic film that kills a harmful soil insect?

by Higher Education Press

Would micro ecology be damaged by a plastic film after thoroughly kill Bradysia cellarum?
Credit: Youjun Zhang

Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) is a perennial herbaceous vegetable with medicinal qualities. Unfortunately, Chinese chive crops are severely damaged by the soil insect Bradysia cellarum. B. cellarum are mainly found in the surface soil to a depth of 5 cm. Department of Plant Protection, Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences Investigator Youjun Zhang and his team showed that thermal treatment of B. cellarum adults, eggs, larvae, and pupae at 40 °C for 3 hours produced mortalities of 100%, 100%, 100% and 81%, respectively, and the fecundity of B. cellarum significantly decreased with increasing temperature and exposure time, completely inhibiting egg-laying at 37°C for 2 hours. These data suggested that B. cellarum is quite sensitive to elevated temperatures. As long as soil temperature to a depth of 5 cm is increased and remains over 40°C for 4 hours, the mortality rate of B. cellarum will be 100%. Therefore, the team has been studying how to improve soil temperature without destroying the ecological environment.

Youjun Zhang and his team had believed that applying a light blue anti-dropping film of 0.10 or 0.12 mm thickness would be enough to kill B. cellarum under a sufficient intensity of sunlight (e.g., between late April and mid-September in Beijing, China). The method was called soil solarization. However, it was not known whether soil solarization affects soil microbial diversity. If soil solarization can kill B. cellarum and also avoid affecting Chinese chive growth and the soil microbial ecological balance, it will be an environmentally friendly control technology.

In this study, Youjun Zhang and his team show that on the first day after soil solarization, 100% control of B. cellarum was achieved. Growth of Chinese chive was lower in solarized plots than in control plots over the first 10 days after treatment, but 20 days after treatment, plants in the solarized plot had recovered and leaf height and yields were equivalent among the treatments. Moreover, the soil microbial community diversity in the treatment group decreased initially before gradually recovering. In addition, the abundance of beneficial microorganisms in the genus Bacillus and in the phyla Proteobacteria, Chloroflexi and Firmicutes increased significantly.

Soil solarization is a promising strategy to control B. cellarum. It is simple to implement, pesticide-free and non-destructive to soil microbial diversity, and it may also promote the abundance of beneficial microorganisms. Soil solarization is practical and worth promoting as a new method of control of B. cellarum infestations in Chinese chive-growing regions.


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Scientists map geographic patterns of soil microbe communities in Hexi Corridor deserts


More information: Effect of Solarization to Kill Bradysia Cellarum on Chinese Chive Growth and Soil Microbial Diversity, Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering (2021). DOI: 10.15302/J-FASE-2021402

Provided by Higher Education Press

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Tobacco Thrips: Tiny Insects With a Big Impact on Georgia Peanut Production

ENTOMOLOGY TODAY 

Tobacco thrips (Frankliniella fusca) also have a taste for peanut, and they spread the plant virus causing spotted wilt disease. A new guide in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management details the biology and management of tobacco thrips in peanut crops. (Photo by Jena Johnson, University of Georgia Department of Entomology)

By Gabrielle LaTora

Gabrielle LaTora

Few people other than farmers think about the toll that insect-transmitted viruses have on crop yields. Tomato spotted wilt orthotospovirus (TSWV)—the virus that causes spotted wilt disease in peanut—caused over $27 million (US) in financial losses during the 2020 peanut season in the state of Georgia. Although TSWV infects several crops, it can be devastating for Georgia’s peanut growers, who produce more peanuts than any other state in the U.S.

Peanut plants with spotted wilt disease develop discolored leaflets and abnormal pods and kernels. Often, whole plants become stunted. The primary vector of TSWV in Georgia peanuts is the tobacco thrips (Frankliniella fusca). Besides transmitting TSWV, larvae and adults directly injure peanut plants when feeding, causing additional foliar symptoms and yield losses.

Thrips can be difficult to identify. Life stages of Frankliniella fusca on peanut are shown here: (A) egg; (B) first instar larva; (C) second instar larva; (D) prepupa; (E) pupa; (F) brachypterous adults, female (left) and male. (Scale bar = 0.5 millimeters). (Photos by Yi-Ju Chen and Pin-Chu Lai, Ph.D.)

In “Frankliniella fusca (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), the Vector of Tomato Spotted Wilt Orthotospovirus Infecting Peanut in the Southeastern United States,” published this month in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management, my colleagues at the University of Georgia Vector-Virus Interactions Lab and I provide an overview of F. fusca‘s biology and pest status, including its morphology, life cycle, vector biology, management, and economic impact. Our hope is that this article can be used as a go-to for researchers, extension professionals, farmers, and anyone who wants to learn more about F. fusca. Thrips can be difficult to identify, so we have provided photos and descriptions of each F. fusca life stage and photos of short-winged and long-winged morphs.

Because peanut is an annual crop, F. fusca overwinter in weed hosts surrounding peanut fields until peanuts are planted again in the spring. Many of these plants are also TSWV hosts—F. fusca acquire TSWV as first- and second-instar larvae most likely by feeding on infected weeds before peanuts are available, then moving into croplands and inoculating peanuts in the late spring.

Using TSWV-resistant peanut cultivars has been the most common and successful non-chemical management strategy to date. Resistant cultivars are not immune to the virus, but they exhibit milder symptoms and higher yields than susceptible cultivars. Many growers employ avoidance and disruption strategies, too—they may shift planting dates to avoid peak thrips populations or modify planting patterns to disrupt thrips’ landing cues. Most growers also head off TSWV outbreaks by controlling thrips with prophylactic applications of insecticides, like phorate and imidacloprid. In addition to controlling thrips, phorate—an organophosphate—can actually suppress spotted wilt disease by inducing peanut defenses.

stunted peanut growth
spotted wilt disease foliar symptoms in peanut

Peanut Rx, a disease risk index developed by researchers and extension specialists from southeastern land-grant universities, is a tool used by growers to evaluate the risks of peanut diseases, including spotted wilt, on their farms. Peanut Rx uses individual farm and management characteristics, like plant density, row pattern, irrigation, pesticide programs, and prior disease incidence, to predict disease risks each year.

Although most Georgia peanut growers use a variety of methods to manage F. fusca and TSWV, there are still opportunities to diversify IPM programs. At this time, there are no standardized monitoring protocols or economic thresholds for F. fusca in peanuts. Very few studies have evaluated biological control agents, like thrips-parasitic nematodes and generalist predators, against F. fusca. Although TSWV-resistant cultivars are common, resistance to thrips themselves is not a targeted trait for peanut breeding programs. By “stacking” TSWV and thrips resistance traits, peanut cultivars can become even more resilient.

Read More

Frankliniella fusca (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), the Vector of Tomato Spotted Wilt Orthotospovirus Infecting Peanut in the Southeastern United States

Journal of Integrated Pest Management

Gabrielle LaTora is a research professional and lab manager at the Srinivasan Lab at the University of Georgia Griffin Campus in Griffin, Georgia. Twitter: @Gab_LaTora. Email: gabrielle.latora@uga.edu.

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Get to Know the Threecornered Alfalfa Hopper, a (Maybe) Serious Crop Pest

May 5, 2017

Virus Helps Onion Thrips Live Longer, Do More Damage

June 12, 2019

Striped Cucumber Beetles: A New Guide Reviews Management Options for Vexing Cucurbit Pests

January 11, 2021

 Research News

 Frankliniella fuscaGabrielle LaTorageorgiaintegrated pest managementJournal of Integrated Pest Managementpeanuttobacco thripstomato spotted wilt orthotospovirus

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Using Integrated Pest Management to Reduce Pesticides and Increase Food Safety

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Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab

Mar 06, 2018

Photo: A farmer sprays pesticides on cucurbit crops in Bangladesh.
Photo: A farmer sprays pesticides on cucurbit crops in Bangladesh.

Written by Sara Hendery, Communications Coordinator of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management

In 2017, thousands of beetles and weevils moved into Ethiopia’s Amhara region. Like most living things, they were hungry, but their appetites desired a specific earthly delicacy: weeds.

Zygogramma, the leaf-feeding beetle, and Listronotus, the stem-boring weevil, were released in Ethiopia by Virginia State University, collaborators of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management, funded by USAID and housed at Virginia Tech. Zygogramma and Listronotus combat Parthenium, an invasive weed that threatens food security and biodiversity, causes respiratory issues and rashes on human skin, and taints meat and dairy products when consumed by animals. Biological control and other holistic agricultural methods are specialities of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Innovation Lab. Its team of scientists and collaborators generate IPM technologies to fight, reduce and manage crop-destroying pests in developing countries while reducing the use of pesticides.  

The application of pesticides is a major threat to human health. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 50,000 tons of obsolete pesticides blanket the already at-risk land. Pesticides can taint food, water, soil and air, causing headaches, drowsiness, fertility issues and life-threatening illness. Especially vulnerable populations are children, pregnant women and farmers themselves; hundreds of thousands of known deaths occur each year due to pesticide poisoning. Pesticides often increase crop yields, but an abundance of crops is anachronistic when the cost is human life.

In a small community in Bangladesh, farmers used to rely on pesticides to manage insects and agricultural diseases destroying crops, but community members began to develop symptoms from the excessive pesticide use, and, more than that, children were doing the spraying. The IPM Innovation Lab implemented a grafting program in the community that generated eggplant grafted varieties resistant to bacterial wilt. Eggplant yields increased dramatically and purchases of chemical pesticides dropped, which meant safer and healthier produce for families.

This story is one of many. The IPM Innovation Lab taps into a collection of inventive technologies in both its current phase of projects in East Africa and Asia, and since its inception in 1993, to enhance the livelihoods and standards of living for smallholder farmers and people across the globe:

  • In Vietnam, dragon fruit is covered in biodegradable plastic bags to protect the plants from fungal disease.
  • In Niger, the release of parasitoids eliminates the pearl millet headminer.
  • The spread of coconut dust inside seedling trays grows healthy plants in India.
  • Parasitic wasps destroy the papaya mealybug from India to Florida.
  • Trichoderma, a naturally occurring fungus in soil, fights against fungal diseases in India, the Philippines and elsewhere.  
  • Cuelure bait traps save cucurbits from fruit flies in Bangladesh.
  • Eggplant fruit and shootborer baits protect eggplants from insect damage in Nepal, India and Bangladesh.

Pesticides do not necessarily eliminate pest invasion; they eliminate even the “good” insects on plants. Insects often develop resistance to popular chemicals when applied frequently, so not only is chemical spraying sometimes unnecessary, it is excessive.

Tuta absoluta, for example, is a tomato leafminer destroying tomato crops across the globe. In Spain, in the first year of the pest’s introduction, pesticides were applied 15 times per season, but the pest is resistant to pesticides and is so small (about the size of a stray pencil mark) that it often burrows inside the plant rather than around it. The IPM Innovation Lab and its collaborators generated one-of-a-kind modeling to track the movement of the species and introduced pheromone traps and neem-based bio-pesticides to help manage its spread, further ensuring the implementation of a series of technologies, rather than just relying on one, to reduce crop damage. The age-old saying “two heads are better than one” is accurate — just ask Zygogramma and Listronotus.

In developing countries, it is difficult to regulate the amount of chemical pesticides that make it onto crops, thus increasing the risk that chemicals will have a dramatic effect on the safety of food and the potential for exposure to foreign markets. One of the reasons pesticide over-application is common in developing countries is due to misinformation. In Cambodian rice production, pesticides are often misused because labels are printed in a foreign language; it is common that farmers mix two to five pesticides, resulting in pesticide poisoning. The IPM Innovation Lab’s project in Cambodia reduces the number of pesticides in rice production by introducing host-plant resistance and biological control.

Also, a fundamental practice of the IPM Innovation Lab is conducting trainings and symposia for farmers and IPM collaborators across the world to educate on the use and implementation of IPM technologies, further reducing the risk of possible harm to crops and human life. Additionally, IPM Innovation Lab partners with agriculture input suppliers and markets in project communities to ensure that bio-pesticides and IPM materials such as traps are readily available and that the purchase of pesticides are not the only option.

Ultimately, when you spray, you pay. The IPM Innovation Lab prioritizes both human and plant health by reducing the use of pesticides, and with the human population growing by the thousands every day, it is crucial that food is not only abundant but also safe and healthy to eat.

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‘Indian farmers need effective, environment-friendly, safer crop protection products’

The solution is to promote a science-based policy and regulatory ecosystem which incentivises innovation and R&D, says Asitava Sen, chief executive officer of CropLife India.

Indian Express

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune |
January 10, 2022 2:39:14 pm

Asitava Sen, chief executive officer of CropLife India

Protecting crops from pests and diseases is a major concern for Indian farmers. However, the crop protection industry, which includes manufacturers of pesticides, insecticides and fungicides, has seen strong opposition from those working against the use of insecticides and fungicides owing to the poisonous effect of these chemicals.

As calls for non-chemical agriculture grows, Asitava Sen, chief executive officer of CropLife India, spoke to The Indian Express about various aspects of the industry.

What would be the research and development (R&D) budget for the development of new molecules for the sector? With pest attacks and diseases becoming more the norm than the exception, is it a race against time for R&D for the companies?

India has only 280 registered crop protection molecules (active ingredients) vis a vis a global portfolio of over 1,175 molecules. One of the reasons for lower agriculture productivity is the low use of crop protection. Indian farmers need newer products that are safer (with lower A.I. doses/ha), environment-friendly and more effective.

The solution is to promote a science-based policy and regulatory ecosystem which incentivises innovation and R&D. A new product/molecule takes over Rs 2,000 crore of investment in R&D over 10-12 years. CropLife India Member companies deal in cutting edge technologies and have an annual global R&D spend of US $ 6 billion (nearly 7.5 per cent of their revenues) that lead to newer and safer innovations for the farmers worldwide.

One of the key missing elements in India is the lack of legal provisions to support innovation and new products registrations – such as Protection of Regulatory Data (PRD). Without this provision, it will be challenging for the Indian farmers to get new products and more choices to fight pests/diseases and weeds. The availability of new crop protection brings in healthy competition and far greater choices to the farmers for fighting the pests.

Plant protection has always been blamed for making agriculture unsustainable. Given the usage of chemicals the risk factor many say increases. With growing awareness or noise about this, how do you address this issue?

India has vast agro-climatic diversity and limited farmland. It needs a wide range of crop protection products. Changes in climate and cropping patterns cause new pests and diseases. According to government sources, 15-25 per cent of Indian agriculture production is lost annually due to pests.

One of the reasons for lower agriculture productivity is the low use of crop protection. India has one of the lowest usages of crop protection per hectare (307 g/ha), compared to up to 13 kg/ha in the USA, Japan, China or other countries.

Crop protection, therefore, is a key enabler of the government’s objectives of food security, doubling farmer incomes and safer food through the introduction of newer and better products.

The Indian crop protection industry is also a net exporter and has the potential to become a major global supply hub, supporting the government’s objectives for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, ‘Make in India’ and ‘Go Global’.

Looking at the potential of the sector, the government has also declared the agrochemical sector as one of the 12 champion sectors, where India can be a critical player in the global supply chain.

The industry is also well-regulated by both central and state governments and checks and balances exist to regulate product quality, movement and usage. Bio-pesticides and bio-stimulants are also being promoted and have great prospects going forward.

There is no alternative but to continue with safe and judicious use of newer, safer and better chemical and non-chemical products, integrated pest management and promotion of better application technologies such as drones.

India has taken a stance against GM crops (barring cotton). Would the introduction of GM variants reduce the need for chemicals for crop protection?

New technology and innovation lead to enhanced productivity, improved quality and farmer income; GM is no exception. New technologies can co-exist and complement each other rather than cannibalise. For example, herbicide-tolerant (HT) cotton can actually aid the application of certain categories of highly effective and popular herbicides to kill weeds in a labour efficient manner.

How strong are the extension services when it comes to reaching out to farmers to educate them about safety features? What kind of initiatives do the companies take in India?

CropLife India and the responsible industry as such, have been demonstrating their sustained commitment to promoting stewardship as the key driver for a resilient, sustainable and profitable (for farmers) food and agribusiness sector in India through multiple initiatives.

We have a long history of creating awareness and building capacity on sustainable practices among various stakeholders including farmers, agriculture input retailers, agricultural extension staff, customs officials, key stakeholders and several NGOs.

The Covid-19 crisis has exposed the vulnerability of rural India and agricultural food systems, emphasising the need for spreading awareness for Covid-appropriate behaviour, and digital solutions to connect farmers to markets.

CropLife India digitise all the efforts towards farmers’ education on safe and judicious use of crop protection products, which has been our motto. Farmer education poster on ‘safety points in farming during Covid-19 pandemic’ was designed and shared digitally. We created a CropLife farmers’ training film, an educational video featuring both stewardship and anti-counterfeiting messages for the farmers’ welfare; available in eight languages — English, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bangla, Marathi, Kannada and Telugu.

What is the total size of the market and at what pace is it growing?

As per CropLife India estimates, the domestic market size of crop protection products in India is estimated at Rs 232.2 billion by sales in the year 2020. It has registered an annual growth of 10.3 per cent over 2019 when the market was valued at Rs 210.5 billion. In the last five years, the crop protection market in India has grown at a CAGR of 6.1 per cent.

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IAPPS Region X Northeast Asia Regional Center (NEARC)

Present committee members

Dr. Izuru Yamamoto, Senior Advisor

Dr. Noriharu Umetsu, Senior Advisor

Dr. Tsutomu Arie, a representative of the Phytopathological Society of Japan, the chair of Region X

Dr. Tarô Adati, a representative of Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and Zoology

Dr. Hiromitsu Moriyama, a representative of Pesticide Science Society of Japan, the secretary general of Region X

Dr. Rie Miyaura, a representative of The Weed Science Society of Japan

The Phytopathological Society of Japan and Pesticide Science Society of Japan became official partners of IYPH2020 by FAO of UN and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) of Japan and endeavored to educate the society on plant protection. https://www.maff.go.jp/j/syouan/syokubo/keneki/iyph/iyph_os.html

Annual activities related to IAPPS especially to IPM of plant diseases, insects and weeds, and plant regulation (from April 2020 to March 2021)

The Phytopathological Society of Japan (PSJ)

2020 Kanto District Meeting, Online; Sep 21–22, 2020

2020 Kansai District Meeting, Online; Sep 21–22, 2020

2020 Tohoku District Meeting, Online; Oct 12–14, 2020

2020 Hokkaido District Meeting, Online; Oct 15, 2020

2020 Kyushu District Meeting, Online; Nov 24–26, 2020

2021 Annual Meeting, Online; Mar 17–19, 2021

Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and Zoology (JSAEZ)

65th Annual Meeting, online, March 23-26, 2021

28th Annual Research Meeting of the Japan-ICIPE Association, online, March 25, 2021

Pesticide Science Society of Japan

37rd Study Group Meeting of Special Committee on Bioactivity of Pesticides, online, Sep 18, 2020

40th Symposium of Special Committee on Agricultural Formulation and Application, Yokohama, Kanagawa; Oct 15–16, 2020 (Cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19)

43th Annual Meeting of Special Committee on Pesticide Residue Analysis, online, Nov. 5–6, 2020

46th Annual meeting, Fuchu, Tokyo and Online, March 8–10, 2021

The Weed Science Society of Japan (WSSJ)

2020 Annual Meeting, The Weed Science Society of Kinki, Online; Dec 5, 2020

35th Symposium of Weed Science Society of Japan, Online; Dec 12, 2020

2020 Annual Meeting, Kanto Weed Science Society, Online; Dec 22, 2020

22th Annual Meeting, The Weed Science Society of Tohoku, Japan, Online; Feb 25, 2021

2020 Study Group Meeting of Weed Utilization and Management in Small Scale Farming, Online; Feb 26, 2021

Hono-Kai (means, Meeting who are appreciating agriculture)

35th Hono-Kai Symposium was cancelled due to the epidemic of COVID-19

Japan Biostimulants Association

rd Symposium, Online; Nov 2–30, 2020

Nodai Research Institute

2020-1 Biological Control Group Seminar, Setagaya; Tokyo; Jun 16, 2020 (Cancelled due to the epidemic of COVID-19)

2020-2 Biological Control Group Seminar, online, Nov 13, 2020

2021-1 Biological Control Group Seminar, online, Jun 15, 2021

2021-2 Biological Control Group Seminar, online, Nov 9, 2021

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Saturday, 27 November 2021 17:37:00

Grahame Jackson posted a new submission ‘News from PestNet’

Submission

News from PestNet

Hi Everyone

We are excited to tell you that PestNet has joined forces with the Pacific Pests, Pathogens & Weeds app (compiled by PestNet). It seemed sensible to put these two Pestnet endeavours together. Some time ago, we mentioned that the website had been redesigned to reflect the changes; now we have completed the amalgamation with new mobile apps. 

You can see the changes if you visit the website here. And you can download the new mobile apps by searching for “PestNet” or “Pacific Pests, Pathogens & Weeds” from the Google and Apple stores.

Hope you like the changes!

All the best

PestNet Moderators


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PLANT PROTECTION EVOLVES IN NEW ZEALAND

Plant protection in New Zealand is adapting to the realities of COVID and evolving to address the challenges of supporting production of healthy food while meeting the threats of biodiversity loss and climate change.  The flagship journal “New Zealand Plant Protection” has been converted to an open-access e-publication with past volumes digitized and available online and Bioprotection Aotearoa, a new Centre of Research Excellence guided by a Māori (indigenous) values framework has been launched.

Biosecurity risks from visitors and imported goods, plus the effects of climate change and pesticide resistance are just some of the issues currently affecting the protection of plants in New Zealand.

Its new tagline “Protecting Plants with Science” encapsulates the New Zealand Plant Protection Society’s aim to reduce the impacts that plant pests, pathogens, weeds and border biosecurity have on New Zealand’s economy and environment. The Society connects like-minded people and organizations by sharing the latest research findings on these issues via social media, through its website https://nzpps.org/, and at various events. Its 73rd annual conference, held in Napier in August 2021, was a great success with over 80 talks and posters presented over three days.

The Society also publishes relevant books and New Zealand Plant Protection, the premium peer-reviewed science journal for plant protection research in New Zealand. The digital age has had a transformational effect on communication globally and the Society has responded by converting its Journal to an open-access e-publication https://journal.nzpps.org. All past volumes have also been digitised and are freely available online.

The Society will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2022 yet its aims remain as valid as ever (Reported by Dr Mike Cripps, NZPPS President).

Plant protection has been served for nearly 20 years by the Bio-Protection Research Centre (https://bioprotection.org.nz/), based at Lincoln University, New Zealand, which has focused on research to find sustainable solutions to New Zealand’s pest and weed problems.  This year, a new Centre of Research Excellence has been launched, Bioprotection Aotearoa, which will integrate plant protection with Mātauraka Māori (indigenous knowledge) and the social sciences. Bioprotection Aotearoa builds on the work of the previous Bio-Protection Research Center, and will adopt an inclusive and holistic approach to scientific research guided by a Māori values framework.  The new center is a partnership of 11 NZ Universities and research institutes which will train the next generation of bioprotection researchers and deliver world-class research that protects the productive and natural landscapes of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific. The main aims of the research are to provide the science to make landscapes more resilient to withstanding pest invasions.

Dr. Trevor Jackson

IAPPS Coordinator Region XII, Oceania

E-mail: trevor.jackson@agresearch.co.nz

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Krishi Jagran

Farmers Panic as Pink Bollworm Attack on Cotton Reaches Alarming Levels in Punjab

Ayushi Raina Updated 23 September, 2021 2:11 PM IST Published on 23 September, 2021 2:08 PM IST

Pink Bollworm attack on cotton crop

The pink bollworm attack on Punjab’s cotton crop has turned out to be far worse than expected. It has created problems in almost one-fourth of the area in the largest cotton-growing districts of Bathinda and Mnasa, despite the fact that the attack had previously been felt in approximately 10-15% of the land in these areas.

Pest attacks have also spoiled crops in the border districts of Fazika and Muktsar, but to a lesser extent.

Damage has been determined to be above 50% in several districts in BathindaMaur, and Sangar blocks, with some areas reaching 60-70 percent, as even state agricultural department officials have conceded. The ETL has been determined to be greater than 10 adults per leaf, with a permitted limit of up to five adults.

Farmers are worried as the pink bollworm infestation has reached alarming levels, resorting to even un-recommended sprays in an attempt to eradicate it, but not getting any relief. In Punjab, cotton was planted on 3.04 lakh hectares, with 1.70 lakh hectares (56 percent of the total) in these two districts. The attack was first spotted in Bathinda and Mansa in the final week of August, but it was unable to be contained in almost a month and has instead been growing by the day.

Gurcharan Singh of Mansa’s Bhamme Khurd village ploughed his cotton crop on two acres on Wednesday. Gurcharan stated that after more spraying, the insect lingered and harmed the crop. He ploughed the crop because he had no other choice. “The pink bollworm attack is widespread, and if it is not stopped as soon as possible, other farmers may follow suit, and because there is no time left to plant another crop other than wheat in a month’s time, farmers would face enormous losses.” We want the government to completely compensate farmers for the harm caused by pest attacks,” said Ram Singh Bhainibagha, district president of BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) Mansa.

Officials from the state agricultural department are also on their toes. On Wednesday, the director of the department visited a number of villages in Bathinda.

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How Insect Saliva is Helping Crops Protect Against Pest Damage

Cowpea is one of Africa’s most important cash crop, and has been found to detect larvae and reduce feeding damage (Image by Toby Hudson)

A new study has unlocked the hidden ways in which important cash crops such as cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) tackle localised pest invasion and damage using natural defence mechanisms. Insights such as these are key for the future protection of our global agricultural production in the light of increasing pest outbreaks and crop damage.

Scientists have published research in which they have found an immune receptor in cowpea cells that can detect the saliva of caterpillars feeding on their leaves, causing a series of natural defence responses such as the release of chemicals that limit the rapid growth capabilities of the larvae. An example of such a defence mechanism is found when the bean pod borer (Maruca vitrata) larvae feed on cowpea, causing the release of a pheromone which attracts parasites to then feed on the larvae.

“Despite chemical controls, crop yield losses to pests and diseases generally range from 20 to 30 percent worldwide. Yet many varieties are naturally resistant or immune to specific pests,” explains biologist Adam Steinbrenner from the University of Washington. “Our findings are the first to identify an immune recognition mechanism that sounds the alarm against chewing insects.”

As of yet, very little is known about how plants are able to identify and combat pest threats, however this new study which is built on previous research by the same team has found that certain peptides known as inceptins are found in the saliva of the larval pests such as the beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua) larvae – which is one of greatest threats to cowpea crops across Asia and North America. The beet armyworm is native to Southeast Asia and has colonised parts of America since the late 1800s. This pest is extremely damaging to crop foliage, with larvae being found to consume more than other major crop pests such as the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella).  

Beet armyworm larvae (Image by Russ Ottens, University of Georgia)

The inceptins are the spark that causes the cowpea defence mechanisms against feeding pests, ultimately resulting in larval damage or death. The research found inceptin receptors (INRs) on cowpea plant calls specifically. Unfortunately, there are limited ways to study cowpea crops, resulting in the team having to use tobacco plants to test how the INRs work in practice.

By inserting the gene for INR production into tobacco crops, the team were able to test what would happen in the presence of armyworm larvae. It was found that the INRs were triggered in response to the presence of certain protein fragments in the saliva of feeding caterpillars, as well as in response to direct feeding damage on leaves. The fragments of saliva protein that caused the defence response was found to be pieces of cowpea proteins that were broken down by the caterpillar during feeding. In the tobacco test crops, the presence of these proteins triggered the release of a plant hormone that is known to occur when under threat, resulting in the suppression of insect growth.

“Like many plant immune receptors, this receptor is encoded only by certain plant species but can be transferred across families to confer new signalling and defence functions,” the author wrote.

With the genomic techniques used in this study, the team were able to discover hidden information about plants natural defence mechanisms against pest damage. With the increasing global demand for food as well as more prevalent agricultural pest outbreaks, such studies must be conducted on numerous important food crops and a variety of environmental climates so we can better prepare for and mitigate future threats.

If you would like to read more on this subject, please see the links below:

armywormbeet armywormcowpeaAgriculture and International DevelopmentCrop healthFood and nutrition securityPlant Sciences

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