Management of Spodoptera in Maize Crop

  • , by Agriplex India
  • 4 min reading time

The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), an invasive pest has become a threat to farmers and Indian Agriculture and was first detected on the Indian subcontinent in May 2018 in maize fields at the College of Agriculture, Shivamogga, Karnataka. The ICAR-National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources, Bengaluru has reported the damage intensity of FAW as 9 to 62% with a yield loss of 34% in Karnataka
Climate condition: More cloud cover, coupled with low temperature and high rainfall favors the rapid increase of the population of FAW to an outbreak.
Host range: In addition to maize (major host), FAW can eat more than 80 plant species including rice, sorghum, cotton, sugarcane, etc.

Damage potential: Fall armyworm has caused extensive damage to crops, especially maize, which is very critical for the animal feed industry and also crops such as sugarcane and millets. Consequently, India is forced to import maize for feed and starch industries, which together consume nearly 80 percent of the domestic production.
Symptoms: Larvae also will burrow into the growing point (bud, whorl, etc.), destroying the growth potential of plants, or clipping the leaves. In maize, they sometimes burrow into the ear, feeding on kernels. The FAW feeds by burrowing through the husk on the side of the ear.

      
Management:
Cultural control
Summer ploughing in deep to expose pupae of FAW to predatory birds, heat, etc.
: Intercropping of maize with suitable pulse crops of a particular
region. (eg.Maize + pigeon pea/black gram /green gram)
Sowing of 3-4 rows of trap crops (eg. Napier ) around maize field
and spray with 5% NSKE or azadirachtin 1500 ppm as soon as the
trap crop shows symptoms of FAW damage.
Mechanical control
Hand-picking and destruction of egg masses and neonate larvae in mass by crushing or immersing in kerosine water
v Application of dry sand into the whorl of affected maize plants
soon after observation of FAW incidence in the field
Application of Sand + lime in a 9:1 ratio in whorls in the first thirty
days of sowing Mass trapping of male moths using FAW-specific pheromone
traps @ 15/acre.
Biological control:
Augmentative release of egg parasitoid Trichogramma pretiosum or
Telenomus remus @ 50,000 per acre at weekly intervals or based on
trap catch of 3 moths/trap
Chemical Control: Recommended products

 Ekalux 2ml/ liter of water or Proclaim 1 gm/ liter of water  Coragen 0.3ml/liter of water or Curacron 2-3ml / liter of water. 

Monitoring and Scouting:

Regularly monitoring your fields for Spodoptera presence is essential. This allows for early detection and timely implementation of control measures before significant damage occurs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) poses a significant threat to maize crops, but effective management strategies are available. By implementing an integrated pest management (IPM) approach that combines cultural practices, mechanical control, biological control, and judicious use of chemical control, farmers can effectively combat this pest and safeguard their yields. Remember, monitoring and scouting your fields regularly are crucial for early detection and timely intervention. By adopting sustainable practices and staying informed, we can work together to ensure a healthy and bountiful maize harvest.

Frequently Asked Questions about Spodoptera Management in Maize:

Q: What are the early signs of Spodoptera infestation in maize?

A: Look for small holes in leaves, wilting and discoloration of plant parts, and fecal droppings. Young larvae might be visible feeding on the leaves.

Q: Are there any resistant maize varieties available?

A: Research is ongoing to develop maize varieties with inherent resistance to Spodoptera. Consult with your local agricultural extension service for information on available options in your region.

Q: How often should I monitor my maize fields for Spodoptera?

A: The frequency of monitoring depends on several factors, including the stage of crop growth, pest pressure in your area, and weather conditions. Generally, scouting your fields every 3-5 days during the vulnerable stages of the maize crop is recommended.

Q: What are some precautions to take when using insecticides?

A: Always follow the instructions on the label carefully. Use personal protective equipment like gloves, masks, and goggles when handling insecticides. Apply only during favorable weather conditions and avoid spraying near water bodies. Remember, overuse of insecticides can lead to resistance in the pest population and harm beneficial insects.

Q: Where can I find more information about Spodoptera management?

A: Several resources are available online and through local agricultural extension services. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and national agricultural research institutions often provide valuable information and guidelines for Spodoptera management.

By staying informed and implementing these strategies, farmers can effectively manage Spodoptera in their maize crops and ensure a successful harvest.

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