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Archive for the ‘Pest damage’ Category

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Xinhua

 
By Ejidiah Wangui NAIROBI (Xinhua) — Kenyan farmer Geoffrey Koech was staring at his ten-acre maize plantation shortly before the harvest with regret and bewilderment, aware that his investment had gone down the drain due to armyworm infestation.

“We are staring into a disaster,” he told Xinhua in a recent interview as hired labourers geared up to clear the corn that had retarded due to attack by the voracious pest

Koech’s farm located 159 km southwest of Nairobi was invaded by the fall armyworm (FAW) a few months ago and his efforts to salvage a portion of the farm from the fast-spreading pest were futile.

He now faces tough days ahead as farming is his only source of income.

The pests have caught many farmers like Koech by surprise, leaving a trail of destruction that is expected to trickle down to millions of households across Kenya that rely on corn as their staple food.

“It all started like a joke, during one of my tours around the farm, I noticed some of the plants had been attacked but I thought it is the usual worms that we deal with here. Within two weeks, I couldn’t believe my eyes as most of the plants had been attacked. I tried using pesticides but it was too late,” said Koech.

He had only heard about the FAW invasion in neighboring Uganda but never thought anything of the sort could strike closer home.

As small-holder farmers like Koech ponder on their next move, Kenya as a country stares at a 20 to 25-percent drop in maize yields in 2017, further complicating the situation as the East African nation is still reeling from the harsh effects of drought.

According to the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), the caterpillar could cause maize losses costing 12 African countries up to 6.1 billion U.S. dollars per annum, unless control methods are urgently put in place.

The FAW which was previously reported in Western Kenya has now spread to other regions such as Kwale County in the Coast.

In its latest “evidence note” report on the FAW, CABI said the caterpillar has the potential to cause maize yield losses ranging from 8.3 to 20.6 million tonnes per annum, in the absence of any control methods, in just 12 of Africa’s maize-producing countries.

According to the report, FAW should be expected to spread throughout suitable habitats in mainland sub-Saharan Africa within the next few cropping seasons.

Northern Africa and Madagascar are also at risk. In September, 28 countries in Africa confirmed presence of the pest, compared to only 12 five months earlier.

A further nine countries have conducted or are presently conducting surveys, and either strongly suspect its presence or are awaiting official confirmation.

According to Roger Day, CABI’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Coordinator, to avert the looming food crisis, affected nations need to come up with an integrated approach to deal with the crisis.

“Work must also start to assess which crop varieties can resist or tolerate FAW. In the longer run, national policies should promote lower risk control options through short-term subsidies and rapid assessment and registration of bio pesticides and biological control products,” Day said.

Immediate recommendations in the report include raising awareness on FAW symptoms, early detection and control, and the creation and communication of a list of recommended, regulated pesticides.

“If I was well informed on what to look out for and what to do when I discovered the first worm, I believe I could have saved close to a quarter of my farm from being invaded,” said Koech.

In July, Kenya’s Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett expressed concern over the FAW invasion saying the country’s food security was at stake as production in 2017 is forecast to drop by 9 million bags.

The worm, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is native to the Americas but there is no documented evidence to indicate how it crossed oceans to land in Africa.

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fall-armyworm-frontal-MER-563x744FAW on corn leavesfall-armyworm-frontal-MER-563x744

Maize damaged by the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frujiperda

Photos courtesy of Marlin E. Rice

 

Fall Armyworm Workshop for East Africa

Harmony Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 14-15, 2017

 Background

The Fall Armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, a native to the tropics and sub tropics of North and South America, is a polyphagous pest attacking more than 80 different plant species, including maize. Maize is a major food staple in sub-Saharan Africa upon which more than 300 million people depend. Depending on the degree of infestation, the FAW can cause huge losses in maize yields and in some cases, total crop loss.

This pest has recently invaded Africa and is ravaging crops in more than 20 countries. It was first reported in Nigeria, West Africa, in early 2016. It soon spread to southern Africa in late 2016 and by early 2017 was confirmed to be in East Africa. If it is not effectively controlled, it is expected to cause $3bn loss to maize in Africa along with serious food shortages expected in the next year.

Needed action

Rapid action, immense awareness creation, and technological innovation, along with national, regional and international collaboration are required to thwart the threat of the fall armyworm in order to avoid severe economic losses among smallholder farmers across Africa. Crucial concerted efforts from international research centers, national research and extension programs, international development organizations, policy makers, and donor communities in East Africa are required to develop and deploy an effective integrated pest management strategy, which can provide sustainable solutions to effectively tackle the adverse effects of the FAW. Millions of East African farmers are currently on the road to recovery from last year’s shocking drought that resulted in a humanitarian crisis. Now, they are facing this new threat to their livelihood.

Workshop objectives

To effectively fight this pest, the IPM Innovation Lab/ Virginia Tech and USAID, in partnership with icipe, is organizing a regional FAW awareness and management workshop. This workshop will bring stakeholders and experts from the United States, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, and Tanzania to share their experiences and challenges in dealing with the FAW. The workshop will also include discussions on needed action in terms of research and development in the region. The results and recommendations made from this workshop will be used as feedback to design an effective management strategy to manage the FAW in East Africa and beyond.

On behalf of the workshop organizers

Tadele Tefera

Country Head icipe Ethiopia, PI for IPM Innovation Lab Grains IPM for East Africa Project and IAPPS Coordinator, Region V East Africa

 

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How Kenya is soldiering on in war against armyworms – Daily Nation

The good, bad and ugly in fight against armyworms

Friday May 12 2017

Patrick Wanjala, a maize farmer in Namanjalala, Trans Nzoia County displays a maize plant attacked by armyworm in his farm.

Patrick Wanjala, a maize farmer in Namanjalala, Trans Nzoia County displays a maize plant attacked by armyworm in his farm. The pest has potential of causing famine since the larva not only feeds on staple food crops but also grass, pasture and any green vegetation. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By STANLEY KIMUGE
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From far, Malaki village, about some 6km from Kitale town in Kwanza in Trans Nzoia County, is lush green, with farms teeming with the maize crop. Nothing looks unusual at various fields but as one moves closer to the maize farms, a different story unravels.

The maize crop has been ravaged extensively by the fall armyworms, with the area being the worst affected by the pests.

Patrick Wanjala, a maize and beans farmer, bends for the umpteenth time looking at his crop. His face is forlorn showing the anguish and frustration that the pest has caused him.

“I have never seen anything like this before in my life as a farmer. I am not sure if I will harvest any maize this season.”

Under normal circumstances, he would have harvested between 60 and 70 90kg bags from his one-and-half-acres.

“It started with small holes on the plants’ leaves and I thought it was just the stem borer as that is the common pest here. I sprayed but nothing changed then reports of the armyworms having invaded the region filtered in,” recounts Wanjala.

In a bid to tame the notorious pest, Wanjala said he applied ash and even red soil as desperation set in.

“I tried that hoping that it would work but it was all in vain,” says Wanjala, whose crop was attacked some two months ago.

Then hope came when the government announced that it was coming up with measures to tackle the pest that is a threat to food security since it is destroying maize.

Armyworm has potential of causing famine since the larva not only feeds on staple food crops (maize, wheat, millets and sorghum) but also grass, pasture and any green vegetation mainly on the leaf lamina, leaving only the mid-rib

A team was set up at the county and national level to co-ordinate the fight against the worms.

But to date, Wanjala says he has not received any chemicals from either the county or national government as promised.

“I have been to the county offices several times hoping to get chemicals in vain. Two days ago I went there. More than 2,000 of us had turned up and the chemicals were not enough despite the little amounts they were giving,” says Wanjala, who is yet to spray any chemicals on his maize crop.

ONGOING RAINS

So far, according to the county government, some 15,000 acres of maize have been affected in the region, but the inspection of the fields is ongoing to ascertain exact figure.

The ravenous pest has fed on the “heart” of most of plants leading to stunted growth.

Trans Nzoia County, which is the country’s food basket has borne the brunt of the armyworm attack, with an estimated thousands acres of maize having been ravaged.

County’s chief agriculture officer Mary Nzomo says the county is distributing chemicals to farmers to contain the situation, though they are not enough.

“We have been able to spray about 10,000 acres out of the over 15,000 affected by the pest,” says Nzomo, noting an adult worm lays up to 2,000 eggs and it’s important to kill them before they become adults to avoid spreading. Besides spraying, she says the county has taken other measures to curb spread, which include sensitisation of farmers.

Maize crop attacked by the pest in a farm.

Maize crop attacked by the pest in a farm. Normally, the pests feed in the evenings and early morning. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“We are holding public barazas where we also distribute educational flyers and we do on-farm demonstrations. We are currently holding talks on FM radios as well as print and broadcast media to spread the message,” she says.

She notes despite promise by the national government that they will get chemicals since it recommended the spraying be done three times, no pesticides have been distributed to them and in the nearby Uasin Gishu County.

“Those farmers that have sprayed have noticed the chemicals are working. What we are telling farmers is that if you spot the pest in your area, you need to spray all maize plants including those that have not been attacked to avoid re-infestation,” says Nzomo.

Other factors are also hampering the struggle to eradicate the pest including the rains.

“Sunny and humid conditions help control multiplication of the pest but with the ongoing rains, it becomes a challenge to spray. Normally, the pests feed in the evenings and early morning and this is the time we are asking farmers to spray, but with the heavy rains, when they spray the chemicals are washed away.”

The farmers have been advised to spray at least three times in two weeks after germination, when the crops are knee-high and during the formation of the tarsals (about the flowering stage) to control the pest.

SALVAGE CROPS

Last month, Trans Nzoia set aside Sh45 million while Uasin Gishu Sh2 million to fight the pest.

“This was to cover about 20 per cent of farmers, mainly small-scale. On average, the cost of spraying is about Sh2,000 per acre but we are assisting to do one spraying for farmers,” says Nzomo.

Joseph Cheboi, Uasin Gishu County Director of Agriculture, says that four out of six sub counties have reported armyworm infestation, with Soy and Moiben that border Trans Nzoia County being worst hit.

Bernard Kimuiguei, a farmer in Kipsombe in Soy, says that his 20 out of 40 acres under maize has been affected.

“I was given some chemicals by the county officials but they were too little. I have to dig deeper into my pockets and it is really costly,” he says.

Dr Victoria Tarus, county chief officer in-charge of agriculture, says approximately 600 acres have been infested but they are distributing chemicals to farmers.

Robert Aluda, a farmer in Namanjalala Trans Nzoia, says besides the failure to get pesticides, lack of information on how to control the pest is also the biggest setback.

Trans Nzoia County Deputy Governor Stanley Tarus, Agriculture Chief Officer in the county Mary Nzomo and farmers during the launch of Fall Armyworm Management Campaign

Trans Nzoia County Deputy Governor Stanley Tarus, Agriculture Chief Officer in the county Mary Nzomo and farmers during the launch of Fall Armyworm Management Campaign in the county on May 09, 2017. Farmers whose maize crop had been infested were given pesticides to fight the invasion. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“If we knew from the beginning what the pest was and how to eradicate it, we would have salvaged our crops. We just heard on the radio that a pest had crossed the Kenya-Uganda border but we thought it won’t be that destructive so we did not act fast,” says Aluda, who took a bank loan of Sh50,000 and sank into the maize farm.

But it is not all gloom. Charles Sawe from Moiben says he bought himself chemicals recommended by agricultural extension officers and he has been able to clear the worms on his expansive farm.

He says that only few farmers have received the government chemicals.

UNDER CONTROL

The government recommended the following chemicals; Duduthrin, Twigapyrifos, Belt, Match, Ranger, Loyalty, Integra, Orthene, Jackpot, Imaxi. They are also using cocktails and are working well.

Other chemicals include Chlorpyrfos, Alpha Cypermerthrin , Indoxarb, Di Ubenzuron, Clorantraniliprole and Spinetoram.

At the Coast, where there was African armyworm attack, farmers have reported success in eradication of the pest. In Taita Taveta County, the armyworms invaded Njukini and Challa within the agriculturally rich Kasigau-Maktau belt and some parts of Mwatate.

Agriculture chief officer Evans Mbinga said the worms invaded 25 hectares under maize crop as well as some ranches. “At least 60 farmers were affected by the armyworms invasion, which followed rains after a prolonged drought. Following the rains, new grass sprang up and it created a conducive environment for the armyworms to multiply,” he explains.

The agriculture official says the county has brought the armyworm invasion under control after spraying pesticides on affected farms. “County field officers teamed up with farmers in spraying the pesticide known as Cypermetherin which wiped off the armyworms.”

Joseph Ivuso, a farmer in Taita, whose 2.5 acres of maize were invaded says he eradicated the pest with the help of county agricultural officers.

In Kwale County, the director of agriculture David Wanjala says the armyworms invaded 25 acres of maize in Lunga Lunga.

However, he noted that the pests did not cause a big damage. “When the farmers planted maize, the moths were at pupae stage in the soil, so when the rains started pounding the region they easily drowned.”

But despite the rains wiping away the pests, Wanjala says the county is expected to receive 1,000 litres of pesticide from the national government next week, which would be used in case the worms reappear.

Additional reporting by Mathias Ringa

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The FAO estimates that up to 40% of global crop yields are reduced each year due to the damage caused by pests (FAO, 2015). Crop losses have a huge impact on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. They result in less food for them and their families and a lower income for spending on education and […]

via Pest Risk Information Service for sub-Saharan Africa — The Plantwise Blog

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The FAO estimates that up to 40% of global crop yields are reduced each year due to the damage caused by pests (FAO, 2015). Crop losses have a huge impact on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. They result in less food for them and their families and a lower income for spending on education and […]

via Pest Risk Information Service for sub-Saharan Africa — The Plantwise Blog

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CABI Invasives Blog

The locust invasions devastating Niger

locust-invasion-in-niger

It is the end of December 2016, with clear skies over Niger. But as 2017 draws near prospects are grim for some 500 residents in Bani Kosseye, a village 80km from the capital Niamey. Agricultural production has been poor here, and families’ meagre stocks are expected to run out within a few weeks. People already fear famine.The main cause for this food stress is none other than locusts. The damage the tiny insects cause to agriculture means they have become public enemy number one in the fields and pastures of this Sahel country.

The various institutions set up to combat the locust threat in Niger classify the insects into two main groups: desert locusts and grasshoppers. There is a third category, migratory locusts, but experts in Niger say these are not a significant threat.

Desert locusts, on the other hand — which are associated with the eighth biblical plague — have the ability to swarm into several dozen million individuals capable of travelling long distances across several countries to devastate fields. The 2003-2005 invasion affected 20 countries across northern Africa and destroyed millions of hectares of crops.

According to the preamble of Niger’s Locust Risk Management Plan, during a massive locust invasion swarms of desert locusts may invade “an area of 29 million square kilometres where 1.3bn people live, stretching from Africa’s Atlantic coast in the northern hemisphere to the Indo-Pakistani border, and from the Mediterranean to the Equator”.

Idrissa Maiga, a locust expert at the Agrhymet Regional Centre in Niamey, says “it is a species with an extraordinary reproductive capacity. Females may lay eggs several times during their lifetime and each female lays between 80 and 100 eggs.”

And how voracious are they? “Each individual is capable of eating its own weight in vegetable matter per day,” the entomologist says. “This means that each individual can eat up to two grams of fresh material per day.”

“Therefore, if a swarm of dozens or hundreds of millions of individuals zooms in on a crop, it only takes them between 15 and 30 minutes to destroy fresh material in the area,” Maiga says.

Millions of hectares destroyed

Some desert locust specialists, who are quoted in a technical note by Niger’s locust monitoring system (published in December 2016, in French) even say that “in theory, a swarm covering a 25-square-kilometre area with a density of 100 insects per square meter, may eat as much grass as 50,000 heads of cattle.”

The director general of the National Locust Control Centre (CNLA), Abou Moumouni, says Niger paid a very heavy price for the 2003/2005 locust invasion.

“3,755 villages had a 27 per cent cereal shortfall equivalent to about 223,487 tonnes,” he says. “This deficit, caused by the dual effects of drought and desert locusts, led to a 4.47million-tonne drop in food production.”

The situation is very worrying for Niger which is, with Mauritania, Mali and Chad, one of the so-called frontline states (a loose coalition of African states) in West and Central Africa. They are countries where outbreaks occur, the insects live on a permanent basis and can reproduce, forming swarms and invading crops — if the process is not interrupted.

In Niger, this happens in the regions of Aïr and Tamesna and, to a lesser degree, in the pastures in the Sahel, which is a summer reproduction area.

Fortunately, the country and the region do not face an invasion every year. “Over the past 30 years, there have only been three desert locust invasions: in 1988, 2003-5 and 2012,” says Moudy Mamane Sani, the director general of vegetable protection at Niger’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

However, the effects of these past invasions are felt for a long time. According to the CNLA, 1.25 million hectares of crops were destroyed in Niger during the 1988 invasion, which affected a total of 26 million hectares of crops in 23 countries
But this is not all. “Following the 2003-2005 crisis, nearly 4,000 villages in Niger were abandoned by residents who had lost their crops. This led to the exodus of these people from their villages to cities,” Moumouni says.

“Growers do not have anything but their production,” he says. “Where desert locusts go, they do not leave anything behind.”

He explains that growers who have lost their crops, and pastures that support their cattle, no longer have any capital; and all they can do is go to urban centres, look for a job and rebuild their lives until the following agricultural season.

Grasshopper threat 

However, for the residents of Bani Kosseye village, it is grasshoppers that are behind the distress, not a new invasion of desert locusts. “These are sedentary locusts which, unlike desert locusts, are not capable of gathering gregariously to form large swarms,” Maiga says.

Among these are Senegalese locusts, which Maiga says are particularly harmful for cereal crops, millet especially.

The fact of the matter is that grasshoppers also have a great capacity for harm in the fields. “Attacks by grasshoppers may take place at various stages of plant growth,” says Djibo Bagna, a farmer and the chairman of the executive board of Niger’s Farmers Platform.

“Once they have attacked seedlings, they move on to young plants. If they do not show up after seedlings have been attacked, it means they are waiting for plants to develop so they can attack leaves. [As a result] you will find stalks that are totally ‘naked’ and that will not yield anything at all,” he says.

“Grasshoppers even attack the ears [of cereal plants] and eat seeds which have not yet reached maturity. So you will see ears but there is almost nothing inside,” Bagna concludes.

This is more or less what the residents of Bani Kosseye experienced during the 2016 agricultural season. “Locusts appeared when the millet started flowering, both at heading time (when flower or seed heads start to show) and when seeds appeared,” says Issaka Arouna, a local farmer.

“We began fighting them even before the arrival of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock,” Arouna says.

Grasshopper infestations 

That particular fight was lost. It failed to prevent the risk of a food crisis, which is now dreaded in the village: “Can’t you see that empty granary over there,” says Arouna as he asks a young man to open one of the granaries of the village.

There is not much inside: ears of millet, some with sparse kernels, barely cover the floor area. “This is the crop of ten people you can see here,” the old man says with a stern expression.

This meagre crop is evidence that the threat of grasshoppers is far from negligible. “In fact, Senegalese locusts cause even more damage to millet in any one season than desert locusts do,” Idrissa Maiga says.

The species is particularly dangerous because it is endemic. “This is a situation we face on an almost yearly basis,” says Sani “During every agricultural season we are confronted with grasshoppers, and the seriousness of the situation varies from one season to another,” he says.

“This year, for instance, we have had many cases of grasshopper infestations, including in the Tilabéri, Zinder and Maradi regions,” Sani says.

Vulnerable countries 

Desperate times call for desperate measures — so countries which are most vulnerable to desert locust invasions have asked FAO (the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation) to coordinate prevention and response campaigns nationally, regionally and internationally. As a result, FAO has set up a special body in each region.

In Western and Northwestern Africa, which includes Niger, the body in question is the Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in Western Africa (CLCPRO), which was set up in 2000. Each of its ten member states (Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Tunisia) has pledged to set up on its territory a national desert locust control unit.

In Niger, the unit was set up in 2007. It is called the National Locust Control Center (CNLA), with headquarters in Niamey and a main operational base in Agadez, a city chosen for its proximity to outbreak areas.

“During remission periods, such as now, when there is no invasion and when locusts are in gregarious areas, the CNLA is tasked with leading monitoring operations,” Moumouni told SciDev.Net.

He says monitoring involves carrying out insecticide treatments as soon as the number of locusts reaches a certain level in order to confine them to gregarious areas.

“During invasions, the CNLA is tasked with preparing action plans as well as coordinating and evaluating response operations together with the Directorate for Plant Protection (DGPV) because we have limited means and personnel,” Moumouni says.

The directorate, part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, is also in charge of other types of locusts and pests, including grasshoppers.

Both bodies have opted for prevention as a strategy, spurred on by FAO which stated in 2006 that “when you look at the cost of response operations for the CLCPRO, you realise that expenses incurred to overcome the 2003-2005 invasion could have funded 170 years’ worth of prevention.”

Prevention is also driven by the economic, social and environmental impact of operations carried out as a result of the 2003/2005 invasion. “Thirteen million litres of pesticides were needed to overcome it. It cost more than half a billion dollars and caused crop losses worth more than $2.5 billion,” according to the FAO document.

Locust information network

As a result, steps are being taken in Niger to prevent invasions, and they involve both growers themselves as well as officials.

“We have growers whom we call brigadiers,” says Djbo Bagna, a farmer and the chairman of the executive board of Niger’s Farmers Platform. “We have already trained them to use pesticides and to alert technical services when the situation gets out of hand.”

“We have a locust information network,” adds the CNLA’s Moumouni.  “For gregarious areas, we have trained nomads, the military and all community leaders so they can inform us as soon as they spot a locust.”

He says information is fed into the monitoring activities of the CNLA, which sends teams to these areas on a monthly basis to evaluate the situation before a decision can be made. The evaluation takes the weather into account, as it too affects the development and reproduction of locusts.

The presence of locusts does not necessarily mean that we will have to go and spray [pesticides],” he says. “There is an intervention threshold. As soon as there are 500 adult individuals or between 3,000 and 5,000 small larvae per hectare, an intervention is needed for numbers to come down.”

Agricultural aircraft

“The DGPV’s Sani says that “in the case of localised infestations over several hectares, growers themselves intervene quickly in their fields with portable sprayers to solve the problem.”

“When the situation reaches a certain threshold, it is a matter for decentralised services at local or regional level who have spraying machines fitted to vehicles and who can treat several hectares per day,” he explains. “Air operations are conducted when infestations reach several thousand hectares.”

Sani says Niger has an airbase with three agricultural aircraft to deal with large-scale infestations.

In addition to aircraft, biopesticide products have been designed to assist with the response. Green Muscle, for example, was developed by Chris Prior and David Greathead, two scientists with CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International).

Neither Green Muscle nor any chemical pesticide will remove the threat. But with adequate monitoring of locust and grasshopper numbers — especially when they have just been born and before they become adults — Green Muscle may be able to control the number of locusts and grasshoppers, preventing them from becoming a threat for crops and human lives,” says Belinda Luke, a CABI biopesticide scientist.

The biopesticide is now sold by BASF but Luke says CABI is available to those needing advice to make the best use of the pesticide.

Monitoring and response

However, like those leading locust control in Niger, she believes monitoring remains the most effective weapon against desert locusts. “We need eyes in fields to monitor the number of locusts in order to be able to treat them with Green Muscle as soon as necessary.”

Meanwhile, research continues and Niger has the advantage of being the home of the Agrhymet Regional Centre, which was set up by the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) to “inform and provide training on food security, the fight against desertification and water management in the Sahel and Western Africa”.

Among other facilities, the Agrhymet Centre has an insectarium where locusts are raised for the purposes of scientific work. The institution was set up to serve the 13 member countries of the CILSS, but “offers Niger a benefit given that everything it develops as a decision support tool or any information it provides is first implemented in the nearest countries, i.e. in Niger,” says entomologist Maiga.

“It goes without saying that our cooperation with Niger’s national technical services in charge of the locust threat is much closer owing to this proximity,” he says.

Yet despite this mechanism, it does happen quite often that there is no immediate response when the alarm is raised. That is precisely what occurred in Bani Kosseye during the latest agricultural season. Locals are still reeling from the fact that technical services failed to intervene as soon as they raised the alarm.

Both the DGPV and the CNLA cite reasons to do with the unavailability of financial means, the procedure for making a military escort available for teams, and a shortage of staff in charge of monitoring and intervention in several places at the same time. These difficulties have given rise to the idea of using drones in the near future, in a bid to increase the efficiency of prevention and intervention operations.

Meanwhile, villagers are making do. “We have a traditional method whereby we light small fires around fields because locusts fly away when there is smoke,” says Arouna, from Bani Kosseye.

Unfortunately, this method was inadequate to protect crops during the 2016 agricultural season.

This article was originally published on SciDev.Net. Read the original article→

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Southeast

Farm Press

cotton-seedling-GA-2016-a
From whiteflies in southern Georgia to bollworms in North Carolina to plant bugs in Virginia, 2016 was certainly a challenging insect year for cotton growers across the Southeast, and 2017 is expected to be no different.

John Hart | Feb 08, 2017

From whiteflies in southern Georgia to bollworms in North Carolina to plant bugs in Virginia, 2016 was a challenging insect year for cotton growers across the Southeast. Dominic Reisig is urging farmers to be prepared for another challenging year.

Reisig, North Carolina State University Extension entomologist, addressed “Emerging Insect Issues in the Southeast” at the annual meeting of the Southern Cotton Growers and Southeastern Cotton Ginners in Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 20, where he provided an insect situation, outlook report and control recommendations.

“Thrips are probably our biggest pest problem in the upper Southeast. When you think about the tough environment you have to plant cotton in early season, the conditions can be brutal,” Reisig said.

With the loss of Temik, North Carolina farmers thought they had a good replacement for thrips control with the use of an infurrow application of Admire Pro along with an insecticidal seed treatment.

“One of the things we are preaching to our growers is to load up on active ingredients,” Reisig said. “We think seed treatments still have value even though we have this resistance situation. We’re recommending to our growers still use these insecticides but don’t expect them to perform as they have in the past.”

“Injury is a function of weather: how fast is that plant goring to grow, how many thrips are out there,” Reisig explained. “This model will actually predict when thrips are dispersing and when they are going to be on the plant and what’s the weather going to do. It will give you a red light or a green light, those are the different planting dates. We’re going to be able to tell growers if at this location you plant cotton at this date, you’re going to be safe from thrips.”

As for whiteflies in Georgia, Reisig said a new species has been detected, the silver leaf whitefly which is difficult to control and requires the use of expensive insecticides, compared to the more common banded wing whitefly which is easier to control.

“The problem with whiteflies is they are not mobile,” Reisig said. “They stick on the bottom of the leaves and tap into the veins of the plant and they basically get too much sugar. They drop it onto the cotton and cause a great deal of loss that way. When the cotton opens up, the lint get colonized and black mold or sooty mold makes the cotton sticky.”

In North Carolina, bollworms were a major midseason pest in 2016 due the increased planting of corn relative to cotton. Reisig explains the cotton bollworm uses corn as an early season host. “If there’s a lot of early season hosts out there, you’re probably going to get a lot of cotton bollworm coming out of the corn and moving into your cotton,” he noted.

In addition, true Bt resistance in cotton is becoming a problem. However, Reisig said Bt cotton still has a place because it delivers other advantages such as excellent tobacco budworm control.

Finally, Reisig notes that plant bugs have now moved into Virginia in addition to becoming a bigger issue in North Carolina.

“When I started in 2009, I was told plant bugs were not an issue in North Carolina cotton. They have become an increasing issue year after year and we’re not exactly sure why,” he said.

“In northeastern North Carolina, plant bugs are a problem in nearly every field. Three-fourths of our fields are getting sprayed for plant bugs. We’ve increased the number of sprays on the fields, averaging two sprays for every field.”

Reisig believes plant bugs are showing resistance to pyretheroids in North Carolina which is why rotating chemistries is critical. In addition, plant bugs are liked to bollworms in cotton

“For a pest like plant bugs, what you really want to do is you want to control it early season before cotton blooms because a plant bug uses its mouth parts to feed on a square,” Reisig explained. “If it feeds on a square, the square will fall off and you won’t have any flowers left to make bolls. When you spray cotton early season to control plant bugs, you knock out natural enemies that then control bollworms later on in the season.”

Reisig is recommending the insecticide Diamond for plant bug control this year. “Diamond is a unique chemistry because it is an insect growth regulator. Insect growth regulators are only active on nymphs but they tend in the Mid-South to extend the period of control so you don’t have to spray as much,” he said.

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