Fertilizer Sector Improvement (FSI+) FALL ARMYWORM ACTIVITY

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Htoo Htoo Aung
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During the 2018-19 dry season, a new armyworm species, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), was detected on maize fields in Myin Chan Township (Mandalay Region); Nay Pyi Taw and Tat Kone townships (Nay Pyi Taw Region); and Nyaung-don, Zalun, and Hinthada townships (Ayeyarwady Region). At that time, the FSI+ extension team was overseeing retailer-led farmer trainings and demonstration plots for balanced nutrient management and urea deep placement (UDP) in Yangon, Bago, and Ayeyarwady regions. The extension team had already observed and reported FAW infestation on maize to the FSI+ COP, who then reported it to USAID. The PPD decided to treat FAW for the long term by applying various techniques to keep the pest population under the economic threshold level, since experts noted that FAW can never be eradicated. Farmers must learn to manage it, as in North and South America and Africa. FAW infestation need not be crippling; while an incidence may look bad, the maize plant can compensate for significant foliar damage so that yield is not affected. Farmers must learn to FSI+ | Fall Armyworm Activity 3 minimize the impact on yield. This can be done by using best management practices and balanced application of fertilizer (without overapplying nitrogen), building natural enemies of FAW, and spraying insecticide only when the infestation is over the action threshold (which can be very high). Some reports indicate that an infestation of less than 25% of plants will have no impact on yield. However, a population explosion can be disastrous. Thus, farmers must be vigilant and continually scout for FAW.
Fall armyworm, Pesticides, Spodoptera frugiperda, Maize