Beet Armyworm Special Advisory for The Farmers of South Manchester and South St. Elizabeth

Featured Beet Armyworm Special Advisory for  The Farmers of South Manchester and South St. Elizabeth
This serves as an advisory specifically for onion and escallion farmers in South St. Elizabeth.

As we approach the warmer months, when the temperatures will gradually increase, conditions for the rapid buildup of the beet armyworm are highly favorable.

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) and RADA are advising the following strategies to mitigate the further development of this pest at this time:

  • Reduce the acreages of scallion during the April to July period and cultivate alternative crops such as hot pepper, thyme, pumpkin, melon during this period.
  • Intensify the monitoring of their crops at least twice a week or every three days
  • Continue to utilize the pheromone traps as a monitoring tool to detect the early arrival of the migrating beet armyworm adults (or bats)
  • Monitor for the early detection of the egg sacs when deposited on the tip of leaves
  • Newly hatched worms will emerge within three days. This is critical as these are the most vulnerable and susceptible stages where cultural and chemical strategies are to be applied. Handpicking is recommended where practical.
  • When spraying, choose least toxic, bio-rational insecticides, to minimize negative impact on natural enemies (or farmers friends)
  • Manage all weeds within and surrounding the fields which may harbour the pest especially grasses around these fields during the rainy period as they may become an additional host for the pest.
  • Older worms are hardier, insecticidal treatment are less effective and worms are less exposed to chemicals and natural enemies, since they reside inside the leaves
  • To reduce the overnight impact of migrating older worms, dig trenches 1ft deep around the plots; Keep the trench wet & muddy to prevent exit of these worms. Be careful not to fall in. Remove once threat to crop has subsided Only apply insecticides approved for use on scallion and onion crops.
  • Effectiveness of the treatments may be enhanced in small plots by clipping off the leaf tips prior to application, especially if the older beet armyworms have entered the leaves.
  • Provide adequate nutrition to the crop
  • Ensure that onion and scallion crops are harvested and sold at maturity and not left in the field due to low prices or other marketing issues. Unmanaged or abandoned plants encourage the build-up of beet armyworm populations.
  • Follow advisories and text messages sent out by RADA immediately; Delays will only be harmful by supporting an increase in the population and increase the risk of crop damage
  • Contact your RADA extension officer if you are noticing an increase in beet armyworm population in your field.
  • Community involvement will play a big role in successful management of the beet armyworm – work together to get pest numbers down in neighbouring fields.

For further information please contact your nearest RADA office 1-888-ASK-RADA or the Research and Development Division, Plant Protection Unit (Bodles Research Station) in St. Catherine.

RADA (toll free) 1-888-ASK RADA (275-7232)

RADA St Elizabeth – 966-2285/2232

RADA Manchester – 962-2307/0479/0477

MICAF – Research and Development – Bodles- 983 – 2267 /2281
Last modified onFriday, 05 May 2017 14:42
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