Punjab Agricultural University has issued an advisory to manage the fall armyworm, an invasive insect-pest that has been infesting maize crops in Punjab since mid-June.
PK Chhuneja, head, department of entomology, PAU, said incidences of fall armyworm in timely sown grain maize has been rare, and at this stage, it has further diminished. He added that based on last year’s experience, the incidence in the coming days on fodder maize is also imminent.
So, farmers have been advised to regularly survey their fields, especially the crops sown late, and take up immediate management measures as soon as the pest is observed on the crop.
During the regular survey, egg masses and younger larval instar can be collected and destroyed. Weather conditions in September-October is favorable for the infestation by this pest, Chhuneja said.
He added that the pest is easier to control in the initial stage, while the grown larvae cause more damage, making round to oblong holes in leaves along with a large amount of fecal matter.
The larvae can be identified from four spots in a square pattern at the rear end and white-colored inverted Y-shaped mark on the head.
Pest management Fodder maize should not be sown after mid-August. Avoid staggering sowing of maize especially in adjacent fields.
Incidence of the pest is higher in high density planting of fodder maize while it is lesser in mixed cropping, for example, when sown along with bajra.
Collect and destroy egg masses of fall armyworm from leaves. Egg masses are covered with hairs and are easily visible.
In case of higher pest attack, spray Coragen 18.5 SC (chlorantraniliprole). Use 120 liters of water per acre for up to 20 days old crop and increase the quantity by up to 200 liters as per crop growth. Direct the nozzle towards the whorl of the plant.
Observe a waiting period of 21 days (after spray) before harvest to ensure the safety of animals