IMPHAL | May 12
Amidst the State facing an outbreak of Fall Army Worm (FAW) particularly on maize crops, an unknown insect (moth) in its adult stage was found infesting in one of the maize farms at Khonghampat on May 10.
It was detected when a survey team consisting of two scientists from Central Agricultural University, Imphal and All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP); director of research, CAU and registrar, CAU inspected some infested areas.
While interacting with the scientists who were in the survey team, associate professor CAU, Khumukcham Ibohal Singh said to this IFP reporter that the team had conducted a field survey at Kabaw Wakching Makha Leikai, Leimaram Maning Leikai and Khongampat Mayai Leikai on May 10 under the direction of vice chancellor CAU, Premjit.
He continued that the team found maize crops being damaged in maximum range due to infestation of exotic pests which were identified as Fall Armyworm by ICAR Manipur region. Not only the specific work, they also found infestation of another new insect in the maize crops at Khongampat and the team has claimed that the new species is totally different from the one that presently creating an outbreak in the State.
“After the investigation, the team sent the report of both the species immediately to Indian Agricultural Research Institute and National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resource, Bengaluru for further confirmation and thorough investigation,” he stated adding that the institute will give a report within 5 days to confirm their identities.
He stated that they had inspected one hectare of maize cultivated land at Khongampat where 60 percent were attacked by the pest, two hectares at Leimaram where 80 percent of the crops got damaged and 70 percent at Kabam Wakching in an area of two hectares.
According to the findings made by the survey, the foreign species mainly attacks on hybrid variety of maize. During the investigation, the farmers reported that the foreign pest was found some 5-6 years back but not in large numbers, he shared. Probable factors of causing outbreak are climate change, mono-cropping and mistakes in crop management, he added.
He further expressed that to lower down the farmer’s problems, the team recommended semi-organic insecticides to them. They are Spinetoram 11.7 SC for late stage (flowering to cob formation) and Chlorpyrifos 20 EC for early stage. However, it may not be able to save the entire damaged crops successfully as most of the crop had crossed the stage where attacks can be prevented, he stated.
They also distributed light traps to capture the insects. On top of this, CAU ordered 50 pheromone traps. This trap will help to confirm the pest, he added.
He said that the team also advised them to do soil treatment before next plantation and follow a practice of deep ploughing so that the moth can be consumed by birds. They also advised to apply combination of contact and systemic application of the pesticides in the infested crop as the moth mainly confines in whorl portion of the maize.
Considering the different types of problems faced by the farmers while doing agricultural practices, there is dire need of meteorological data and to improve scientific method of farming.