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From CABI

Farmers Need Long-Term and Short-Term Solutions to Combat Fall Armyworm in Kenya

Reblogged from Farming First.

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From a distance, Wycliffe Ngoda’s two acres of shiny green maize crops look healthy and lush. But the tell-tale holes in the leaves and debris on the stems give away an increasingly dangerous secret hidden in more and more maize fields across Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa. The rampant Fall Armyworm caterpillar is once again threatening harvests across the continent for a second year.

The pest, which arrived in Africa from the Americas in 2016, affected around 50,000 hectares of maize in Kenya alone last year, costing 25 per cent of the crop, according to government officials.

This year, the losses could be as high as 50 per cent, threatening Kenya’s food security and farmers’ economic security in a country where the average annual consumption of maize surpasses 100kg per person.

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“This is one of the deadliest crop pests in the world,” said Dr B.M. Prasanna, director of the global maize programme at CGIAR’s International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), based in Nairobi. “It can have as many as six life cycles in a year and each female moth can lay as many as 1,500 to 2,000 eggs.

“There’s no single solution that will fight it in all the smallholder contexts. But we’re not starting from scratch.”

Government delegates and experts have recently travelled to Brazil to learn how Fall Armyworm is controlled in the Americas, including the use of pest-resistant varieties of maize.

Scientists at the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) have also found improved yields in controlled trials of transgenic crops as part of the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) initiative.

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But while the Kenyan government considers such developments as part of a long-term strategy to reduce the impact of Fall Armyworm, the pest continues to pose a threat in the short-term.

In their desperation to ward off the caterpillar, which can reach the size of a little finger, some farmers even resorted to mixing homemade pesticides.

“I came across Fall Armyworm last year,” said Mr Ngoda, 65, from Mbale, Vihiga county. “We were taken unaware. It’s something that had not occurred here before. The attack was very fast and furious.

“We started looking for local solutions. We took liquid detergents and mixed it with some ash. Eventually we succeeded in fighting it off but the damage was already done. I lost about 50 per cent of my crop, others lost 70 per cent.

“We were using local innovations but it was more like guesswork.”

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This year, Mr Ngoda said he was better prepared thanks to training in detection and responsible pesticide use provided by the county government and NGOs such as Farm Input Promotions Africa (FIPs-Africa). He said he had applied pesticide to his crops once so far.

The advice included treating crops with pesticides in the morning or afternoon when the caterpillars are active, and spraying to the side to avoid direct contact with the product. FIPs-Africa also contracts specialist sprayers to help farmers safely apply the correct pesticide.

In the meantime, Kenya’s Pest Control Products Board (PCPB) has fast-tracked its approval process for products that can help tackle Fall Armyworm to help address the threat in the short-term. But the challenge in rural areas is ensuring the best advice and information reaches the smallholders.

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CropLife Kenya organises popular county farmer training sessions every month and CABI has more than 120 Plantwise clinics across Kenya where smallholders can bring in samples of their damaged crop to get expert advice on the necessary remedy.

But more is needed to teach farmers how to live with a pest that is here to stay.

“I wish we had more people,” said Mr Ngoda. “Sometimes, farmers don’t seek solutions and expert advice. We need more surveillance and on farm visits.

“I’m normally guaranteed 40 bags minimum. Last year, I didn’t get 20. I thank God I have a small family and none of them are going to school, otherwise it would have been a total disaster.”

Reblogged from Farming First. Read the original article here→

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Spray plane Air Tractor Air Tractor/Getty Images
Today’s modern ag aircraft employ precision guidance technology to insure accurate coverage of crop protection materials.

1943-2018: A 75-year evolution of crop protection in the Delta

Logan Hawkes 1 | May 02, 2018

“You’ve come a long way, baby!” — Slogan from a 1968 tobacco ad campaign

That catch-phrase that was part of a long ago very successful advertising campaign for cigarettes could be applicable to the evolution of crop protection in the Delta region, and beyond, since Delta Farm Press had its start in 1943.

“Agriculture has been a crucible of evolutionary change since its inception thousands of years ago, and this change permeates agricultural endeavors at all levels of biological organization, ranging from the individual gene to whole communities,” says an article published by The U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health.1

While it may be impossible to know the number of plant or pest species that have come and gone throughout Earth’s history, we are nonetheless aware of changes brought about by both natural and selective plant breeding processes over the last several thousand years. And we know a great deal more today about the insects and diseases that have competed for the commercial crops grown on farms.

By the time the 1940s arrived, and worsening global war between nations raged in other parts of the world, farmers tilling the rich soils of the Mississippi Delta were at war with weeds.

“All through history, it is clear that farmed crops would suffer from pests and diseases, causing a large loss in yield, with the ever-present possibility of famine for the population,” says a 2002 article on pest management.2 “Even today, with advances in agricultural sciences, losses due to pests and diseases range from 10 percent to 90 percent, with an average of 35 percent to 40 percent, for all potential food and fiber crops.”

Somewhere around 1942, Dr. J.E. Adams at the Delta Research Station at Stoneville, Miss., began using an invention known as The Flamer, a tractor-mounted blowtorch designed to burn weeds between the rows. Trials were promising, and for several years the machine became the primary tool for weed control.

In other parts of the nation, researchers had been working with inorganic substances, such as sodium chlorate and sulphuric acid, to control many pest problems. Organic chemicals derived from natural sources were widely used.

New pesticides were being tested, mostly byproducts of coal gas production or other industrial processes. Early organics such as nitrophenols, chlorophenols, creosote, and even petroleum oils were being tested, and in some cases, used for fungal outbreaks and to control plant bugs. For weed control, farmers depended on ammonium sulphate and sodium arsenate, but those products needed to be applied at high rates with a lack of selectivity and phytotoxicity.3

Following that, synthetic pesticides were being developed, including DDT, BHC, aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, chlordane, parathion, captan, and 2,4-D. These products were effective and inexpensive. DDT soon became the chemical of choice in the Delta because of its broad-spectrum activity. But researchers observed harm to other plants and even animals, and overuse also caused resistance buildups in some pests.

NEW FORMULATIONS

In the 1950s, new pesticides were formulated, and with little concern about health safety at the time, many were used effectively on some crops, with little if any opposition. But by the 1960s, there was increased environmental awareness and a growing concern for the safe use of chemicals in agriculture. Research continued, and soon began to look at health risks and challenges that ag chemicals might pose on the farm.

More advancements in pesticides occurred with the development of pyrethroids and the introduction of the triazole, morpholine, imidazole, pyrimidine, and dicarboxamide families of fungicides.4

Initial results were promising, until it was discovered that these single mode of action products made them more selective and vulnerable to resistance. By the 1990s, research was concentrated on finding new members of existing families that would offer greater selectivity and better environmental and toxicological profiles. Some of these products offered the added benefit of being applied at only grams per acre rather than kilograms.

GENETIC ENGINEERING

More recently, genetically engineered crops, designed to produce their own insecticidal traits or resistance to broad spectrum herbicide products or pests, have become the standard. But resistance has continued to be a problem, making the use of these traits challenging.

New integrated pest management strategies are helping to reduce the risk of pest pressures, but more needs to be done.

Farmers in the Delta and industrywide, have learned from the past. Now, thanks to steady research and development by the ag chemical industry, there are more tools in the farmer’s arsenal to fight weeds and pests.

At the same time, many farmers are turning back the clock and integrating some of yesterday’s effective products into today’s crop management systems.

The future for ag chemicals may be uncertain, but the one constant is that research to find more effective ways to protect crops continues at the highest levels at universities, independent laboratories, and agribusiness companies — all teaming up to discover the next great weed and pest management tools.

But despite the challenges, few in agriculture would argue that, over the last 75 years, we’ve come a long way, baby.

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New Technical Guide for Africa

Last month, USAID, in collaboration with international and national research and development partners, released the first edition of the Fall Armyworm Technical Guide. This technical manual shares the latest protocols related to integrated pest management to control this agricultural pest in Africa.

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Delta f perss

cotton bollworm

Cotton diseases and insect control as resistance appears

Growers will have to make some difficult decisions related to foliar diseases and Bt-resistant worm pests.

Brad Robb | Jan 25, 2018

Mid-South cotton growers face several tough decisions for 2018 as they deal with hard-to-control diseases and the increasingly difficult problem of Bt-resistant worm pests.

Tucker Miller, president, Miller Entomological Service Inc., Drew, Ms., speaking Thursday at the National Conservation Systems Conferences in Memphis, Tn., said growers will need to look closely at varieties as well as other management options.

Miller, a frequent speaker at the conference, spoke to a packed meeting room about his experience over the last several years with bacterial blight and target leaf spot, potassium-associated foliar diseases. “Growers are going to need to make several important variety selection decisions this coming season, and those decisions need to be made based on good information,” says Miller. “They’ll need a variety that is resistant to bacterial blight and, because there is no variety that provides resistance to target leaf spot, they’ll have to consider other management options to try to control its level and to lessen the effect or impact of the leaf disease.”

Options may include decreasing seeding rates to produce a thinner stand, aggressive Pix management, possibly growing skip row cotton, or selecting a variety or row configuration that lends itself to a more open canopy to help minimize the spread of target leaf spot. “Growers might also try to manage this disease with more timely irrigation methods or even less irrigation,” says Miller. “Leaf shed was so bad in many parts of the fields I worked, if you squatted and looked down the row, you could see a rabbit two-hundred yards away.”

The Mid-South is supposedly in the low to medium risk range of the country for this problem, but Miller questions those range boundaries. Several factors, including irrigation and over-fertilization of nitrogen, may be exacerbating the problem. “It’s hard to get farmers to cut back to 80 or 90 units of nitrogen when they’re accustomed to putting out 120, and they don’t want to run out,” says Miller. “Fungicides are another option, but at $40 an acre, if you spray it twice, I just don’t know if it’s a cost effective application.”

Fungicide

Based on one data set Miller received from 2016 target spot research, a fungicide application to control the disease may provide a significant yield increase only 20 percent of the time. “It’s difficult for me to suggest an application of fungicide at first or second bloom with an 80 percent chance it won’t help,” says Miller.

Miller also talked frankly about the resistant worm (heliothis) problems many growers across the Mid-South and Southeast experienced last year. According to Miller, the problem started with a generation of worms exposed to Bt corn with the two identical proteins found in Bollgard ll or WideStrike ll cotton varieties. “When worms go through a generation and come out of corn then move to cotton, they’re exposed to the same proteins twice, but the second time, they’re surviving,” says Miller.

Dried bloom tags were everywhere when Miller scouted some Bt fields last year. At one point of the season, a report to one of his grower customers listed a high-dollar combination shot of Besiege, Acephate and Pix. “I recommended Pix to control plant growth, Acephate for plant bugs and Besiege for worms on July 16, and by July 29, we had to do it again in one field of Bollgard ll cotton,” says Miller.

One problem researchers across the board are concern about is how long the third protein – VIP—will remain viable if the same scenario presents itself once growers begin planting corn and cotton with the VIP protein. “It’s going to take some careful management for sure,” says Miller.

The 21st Annual National Conservation Systems Conferences will likely set a new record. Growers, Extension specialists, and agricultural researchers covering many disciplines present over 120 presentations over the day-and-a-half conference.

 

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Int’l Conference on Soil Remediation and Plant Protection (SRPP 2018)
March 23-25, 2018 | Guilin, China | Final Submission Due: Jan. 31, 2018
Home |
Dear Colleagues,
As an influential international conference, SRPP 2018 provides the experts with a valued opportunity to communicate with each other. A lot of participants from many kinds of fields will join in this grand international conference.
Speakers
If you wish to serve the conference as an invited speaker, please send email to us with your CV for evaluation.
– Prof. M. E. Asadi, Golestan Agricultural and natural resources research and education center, Iran
Title: Healthy soils with conservation agriculture systems
– Prof. Muhammad Ashraf, University of Sargodha, Pakistan
Title: Integrated Nutrient Management: A Strategy for the Rehabilitation of Metal Polluted Soils
– Prof. Nativ Dudai, Newe Ya’ar Research Center, Israel
– Prof. Rifat Hayat, PMAS- Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Pakistan
– Prof. Rafiq Islam, Ohio State University South Centers, USA
– Prof. Yu-Cai Liao, Huazhong Agricultural University, China
Call for Papers
We cordially invite you to submit or recommend papers to our conference through paper submission system. All the accepted papers will be published by “Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection” (ISSN: 2327-4336). You’re also welcome to submit abstracts for oral presentation.
Contact Us
Any questions please do not hesitate to let me know.
Email: Rolinrolin@126.com

 

 

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BCPC News

Aussie scientists develop microwave device that kills weeds instantly

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-22 08:53:32|Editor: pengying

SYDNEY, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) — Australian scientists on an experimental farm have developed a revolutionary method of killing weeds using microwaves.

Graham Brodie, a food and agriculture lecturer at the University of Melbourne’s agricultural campus, an experimental farm in Dookie, 226 km north of Melbourne, has developed the method of using trailer-mounted microwave generators to combat weeds.

A bank of four microwave generators, approximately double the power of an average microwave oven, is put on the back of the trailer which is then driven over the weeds, killing them immediately.

The generators “cook” the weeds from the inside, just as a microwave oven does with food, leaving them wilted and dead rather than burned or shrivelled.

The range of radiation is limited to between two and three centimeters, enough to kill the weeds while making the device safe to operate.

“It kills the plants almost instantaneously,” Brodie told the university’s internal publication on Wednesday.

“The big gain is that we can kill weeds without herbicides, so we don’t have to worry about weeds that are now evolving chemical resistances, and it kills the seeds left in the soil too so the weeds don’t grow back.

“It can also be done in any weather, it isn’t a fire hazard, and farmers can sow their crops immediately instead of having to wait for the herbicide to clear.”

The device could save the Australian agricultural industry more than 3 billion U.S. dollars which is spent by farmers on herbicides every year.

Testing of Brodie’s device found that it was marginally more expensive than using herbicides but had added benefits such being longer lasting, enriching soil and killing pests such as snails, fungi and parasites.

Brodie said the microwaves did kill worms that were within five centimeters of the surface but deeper-lying worms were unharmed.

The device has been patented and will be subjected to a large-scale trial

 

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miniaturerobots_111417

 

Mini Robots Could Cut Pesticide Use, Food Waste, and Help Harvests


UNITED KINGDOM – Could miniature robots be joining the ranks of farmhands around the globe? According to The Guardian, yes, but optimistically, not for another couple of years. Developing in laboratories now, academic farming experts are researching whether miniature robots are a solution to chemical use, food waste, and labor shortages on farms, and posit that while a possible solution, mini robots might not be the answer farmers are seeking yet.

As reported by the source, current blanket practices waste 95% to 99% of pesticides and herbicides as the method “blankets” chemicals across entire fields, allowing pests and weeds to grow resistant, harming helpful pollinators like bees, and essentially rendering the chemicals ineffective over time.
Toby Bruce, Professor of Insect Chemical Ecology, Keele University

Toby Bruce, Professor of Insect Chemical Ecology, Keele University“Farmers have been heavily reliant for decades on the heavy use of pesticides. Some spraying is very desperate,” said Toby Bruce, Professor of Insect Chemical Ecology at Keele University, according to The Guardian. “Farmers are spraying [chemicals] to which there is resistance. They will not be killing pests as the pests have evolved resistance. They will be killing other insects [such as pollinators].”
In order to reduce pesticide waste and its harmful side effects, researchers are programming the robots to be able to apply tiny quantities of pesticides directly to the plants that need them.
Robots aiding in farming a cabbage field

Robots aiding in farming a cabbage field

The robots are also able to detect when fruit and vegetables are too small or malformed to be harvested. Because malformed produce typically has a lower market value, this would help reduce food waste and allow produce enough time to be harvested when it is ready.
With labor shortages worrying farmers worldwide, the mini robots could also provide the extra hands needed to harvest crops in the field. And this isn’t the only place in our industry seeking extra help from artificial intelligence. Last month, Giant Foods stores piloted Marty, and Walmart began testing shelf-scanning robots in over fifty stores.
While robots seem to be an easy solution, The Guardian reported that the technology is not at an advanced enough stage to implement in the field just yet, and noted that start-ups are needed to spearhead this innovation as many farm technology companies are unwilling to give up their current business models.
With technology advancing every day and offering different ways to rid pests and minimize waste, are mini robots the future of sustainable farming? AndNowUKnow will continue to report on the robot takeover.

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