23 June 2020, Ludhiana: The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, experts have cautioned farmers against the ‘fall armyworm’, an invasive insect-pest, that has been observed feeding on current Kharif maize crop in Punjab. Divulging important details, Head of Department of Entomology, Dr. P.K. Chhuneja explained that the larva can be identified from four spots in a square pattern at the rear end and white-colored inverted Y-shaped mark on the head.
The younger larvae feed by scraping the leaf surface making papery windows. Later on, the larvae damage the central whorl leaves feeding voraciously causing round to oblong holes with a large amount of fecal matter.
To effectively manage this pest, Dr. Chhuneja advised that rain crop sowing should be restricted up to June 30 only to minimize multiplication and spread of the pest while fodder maize sowing should be restricted up to August 15 only and should not be sown beyond this date.
He further stressed against high-density planting of fodder maize and recommended sowing it in rows using the recommended seed rate (30kg/ acre). “To check the rapid spread of the pest, follow mixed-cropping of fodder maize with cowpea/ bajra / sorghum and at the appearance of the pest, spray the grain crop with 0.4 ml Coragen 18.5 SC (chlorantraniliprole) or 0.5 ml Delegate 11.7 SC (spinetoram) or 0.4g Missile 5 SG (emamectin benzoate) per litre of water. Use 120 litres of water per acre for up to 20 days old crop and increase the water quantity up to 200 litres as per crop growth. Direct the nozzle towards the whorl of the plant. In fodder maize, spray Coragen 18.5 SC (chlorantraniliprole) @ 0.4 ml/litre of water and observe a waiting period of 21 days before harvest”, emphasized Dr Chhuneja.