Taking heed of Bayer’s pest concepts

16:25 | 17/08/2019
Bayer’s insect-resistance hybrid solutions are becoming good practice for farmers around the region in curbing the threat of pests.  
taking heed of bayers pest concepts
International experts observe Bayer's insect-resistance hybrids solution in controlling fall armyworm

The Vietnamese government’s ­decisive actions and in-the-field effectiveness of Bayer’s integrated pest management solutions took attention of participants at a workshop held in the northern province of Thai Nguyen last Friday.

The event and associated field visit on “Sustainable Solutions for Fall Armyworm Management” jointly held by the Vietnam Academy of Agriculture Sciences, the Plant Protection Department (PPD) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), and Bayer – a global leader in life sciences – attracted international experts across the region, including from India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Fall armyworm (FAW), or spodoptera frugiperda, is an insect that is native to tropical and subtropical regions in the Americas. In the larval stage, the pest (FAW) prefers corn but feeds on more than 80 species of plants, causing significant damage to crops, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

In Sri Lanka, the pest has infested 40,000 hectares of land and damaged 20 per cent of crops. It has caused estimated economic damage of $1-3 billion across Africa. The insect made landfall for the first time in Asia in mid-2018.

taking heed of bayers pest concepts
International experts visit Bayer's corn field demonstration solution to tackle fall armyworm

Although Asian countries are mostly known for growing rice, maize is also a staple crop and an important source of feed for livestock and poultry. Therefore, agricultural officials and other experts across Asia gathered in Thai Nguyen to share information and strategies on monitoring and containing the pest.

taking heed of bayers pest concepts
Andre Kraide discusses solutions to control fall armyworm with international experts

Decisive actions

According to the PPD, by early August 18,000ha of maize has been affected nationwide. The treatment for FAW is costly and difficult as it requires the intensive use of pesticides while the worm’s lifespan is long. Meanwhile, the corn farming season is different among regions, making it hard to prevent the epidemic from spreading.

Understanding the danger of FAW, the MARD has been taking decisive actions to mitigate this pest. The PPD has been strengthening measures on prevention and control of FAW, and requests frequent updates from every province. Additionally, it has been holding numerous meetings throughout the country to exchange effective solutions to fight the FAW outbreak.

“As the invasive FAW is a serious pest with the potential for further spread to other economically important crops due to its broad host range, urgent action is needed to curtail the spread and prevent devastating losses,” said Dao The Anh, deputy director at the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

“As an agricultural science academy, we are working closely with international and local partners to find sustainable and effective options to control FAW – from crop protection, insect-resistance hybrids, biological control, and the use of pheromones to providing science-based recommendations for farmers,” Anh told participants at the event.

taking heed of bayers pest concepts
International experts observe Bayer's crop protection solution Vayego, an excellent fit for controlling fall armyworm

An initial success

In Vietnam, local farmers have already been empowered with many tools to tackle FAW thanks to the government’s support for agricultural innovation. Regarding seeds solutions, Bayer’s insect-resistance corn hybrids have been available to farmers since 2015. This technology was certified for bio-safety by Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment as well as food-feed safety and hybrid registration by the MARD.

Bayer’s insect-resistance hybrids technology is currently the latest in the marketplace that features the exclusive presence of two cry genes offering two modes of action against FAW, plus a compelling insect-resistance management model.

“Thanks to the Vietnamese government’s enabling policies for the adoption of the latest agricultural innovation, the global insect-resistance hybrids technology is ready to serve local farmers and create significant impacts in timely and effectively tackling this destructive pest,” said Andre Kraide, cluster head of Southeast Asia and Pakistan at Bayer Crop Science.

taking heed of bayers pest concepts
Farmer Vu Van Sai is happy with the impact of Bayer's solutions in controlling fall armyworm

“This year, my family has grown on 10 acres with both conventional and insect-resistance corn hybrids. At the harvest season last month, the yield at the areas growing conventional hybrids was reduced significantly compared to last year, with 34 per cent of the corn being rotten despite my further investment on various remedies,” said Vu Van Sai, a farmer in Thai Nguyen’s Vo Nhai district. “Meanwhile, on the fields where I used Bayer’s insect-resistance corn hybrids, the output was very satisfying.”

Regarding crop protection solutions, the PPD issued the names of temporary active ingredients in May while continuing to evaluate other potentially effective protection tools to provide the best options to farmers.

Simultaneously, Bayer is working with the PPD to evaluate bio-efficacy field trials and requested the emergency registration of Vayego to bring under control FAW infestations on corn fields. Vayego is a broad spectrum fast-acting insecticide which is efficacious against targeted pests. It is highly selective with minimal impact on beneficial arthropod populations – an excellent fit into integrated pest monitoring programmes.

“Our collective goal must be to protect farmer livelihoods and ensure food security. With a history of over 150 years globally under the guiding mission of offering science for a better life, Bayer is committed to working closely with local authorities to bring world-class technologies to help farmers solve the ever-increasing challenges in agriculture,” Kraide added.

By Anh Duc

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