“We are encouraging our farmers to contact their agricultural technicians when the presence of pests are monitored in their areas. We also give pest advisories to every province. Aside from that, farmers shall also monitor weather updates,” he underscored.
As to date, there are about 393.73 hectares of rice areas damaged by rice black bug (RBB) and 23.4 hectares by armyworm regionwide.
RCPC had validated the reported damages of the said pests in Western Visayas. The highest incident of RBB is in Pontevedra, Negros Occidental with 208.28 hectares affected based on a progress report from November 2018 to January this year.
Meanwhile, three towns in Iloilo province have recorded damages of RBB—Concepcion with 76 hectares; Bingawan-54.75 hectares; and San Dionisio49.7 hectares. Five hectares of rice farm was also damaged by RBB in Ibajay, Aklan.
On the other hand, armyworm infestation was monitored in the 23.4 hectares of rice farms in Madalag, Banga, Balete, and Altavas in Aklan.
Pests such as RBB and armyworm are hard to control when water is not sufficient in the field. According to Rasgo, farmers’ practice of non-synchronous planting and not sanitized farm area also lead to pest occurrence.
While the use of chemical pesticides is recommended during pest outbreak, the DA is also urging farmers to use other alternative management strategies such as biological control agents and appropriate cultural management practices anchored in the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices especially during regular pest situation.