DA, UPLB experts share strategies vs fall armyworm infestation

Published February 3, 2021, 6:33 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

Experts from the Department of Agricutlure (DA) and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) have gathered together to exchange information on how to manage the fall armywork (FAW) outbreak that has affected at least 2,600 hectares of corn nationwide. 

(photo from Wikipedia)

The meeting held at the National Crop Protection Sector (NCPC) on January 23 was attended by UPLB’s leading entomologists and experts from NCPC and the Institute of Weed Science, Entomology, and Plant Pathology.

A FAW management team under UPLB’s College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS) has been conducting several research studies on armyworm since 2019.

Thee studies are being funded by the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) and the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development.

Dr. Leocadio Sebastian of the DA said the dialogue was necessary to put scientific breakthroughs into practice and implement them in large scale among farmers.

Sebastian, along with BAR Director Dr. Vivencio Mamaril, underscored the urgent need to develop measures that will mitigate the resurgence of FAW before the start of “summer” months.

Dr. Lilia Portales, Bureau of Plant Industry’s focal person for plant health and pest status, cited reports received by the DA that FAW has affected at least 2,600 hectares of corn nationwide. 

The participants also recognized the need to also monitor alternative host plants where FAW can hide in before the planting season for corn and saw the potential of using historical and satellite data to predict which areas are likely to be infested. 

Attending the dialogue from UPLB were Chancellor Jose Camacho Jr.; Dr. Merdelyn Lit, vice chancellor for research and development; Dr. Elpidio Agbisit, dean of CAFS; and Dr. Aimee Lynn Dupo, faculty regent.