June 29, 2021 10:50:50 pm
The maize experts of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, have cautioned farmers against the attack of fall armyworm on their crops.
The fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is a species in the order Lepidoptera and is the larval life stage of a fall armyworm moth. It is regarded as a pest and can damage and destroy a wide variety of crops, which causes large economic damage.
Dr Surinder Sandhu, in-charge of the maize section, advised farmers to remain vigilant and survey their fields thoroughly.
“In Punjab, the sowing of kharif maize is in full swing in districts of Hoshiapur, SBS Nagar, Ropar, Jalandhar and Pathankot. The crop is sown from the last week of May to the end of June. So, most of the crop, presently in their younger stage, is vulnerable to the attack of fall armyworm,” Sandhu said.
The incidence of this pest has been observed in different areas of Punjab, she said, while urging farmers not to panic as the pest could be managed by adopting timely control measures.
Referring to its symptoms, she explained: “Larva of fall armyworm has white-coloured, inverted Y-shaped mark on the head and four spots in a square pattern at the rear. The central whorl leaves of damaged plants have big holes and a lot of excreta.”
Farmers can easily identify this pest to follow its control measures, she added. Dr Sandhu emphasised that maize must be sowed by the end of June only, with the fodder maize being sowed not later than mid-August, to reduce spread.
Dr Jawala Jindal, senior entomologist (maize), said: “To control this pest, spray Coragen 18.5 SC (chlorantraniliprole) @ 0.4 ml/litre or Delegate 11.7 SC (spinetoram) @ 0.5 ml/litre or Missile 5 SG (emamectin benzoate) @ 0.4 g/ litre using 120 -200 litres of water per acre depending upon the crop stage. For effective control, direct the nozzle towards the whorl,” he added.
Dr Harpeet Cheema, senior entomologist (forage), elaborated that for fodder maize, only Coragen be sprayed and a waiting period of 21 days is observed before feeding the cultivated maize to animals. “Opt for mixed cropping of fodder maize with bajra/cowpea/sorghum and use recommended seed rate (30 kg/acre) by following line sowing method, rather than broadcasting, she said.
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