FARMERS are urged to monitor their farmlands as the agriculture department warns against pests and diseases caused by erratic weather changes.
The advisory was posted in the official Facebook page of the Department of Agriculture 7 a week after an armyworm infestation was reported in an agricultural learning center in Balamban.
According to Regional Crop Protection Center (RCPC) entomologist Christopher Paran, the change in weather conditions from dry to cold season and vice versa is favorable for pests and diseases.
“Early detection of pests and diseases in the farms is needed to prevent infestation and outbreak. Infestation may cause a big damage to the farms, which results to income loss for the farmers,” he said.
Pests and diseases like rice black bugs (RRB), rodents, rice stem borer, rice tungro virus and the bacterial leaf blight are likely to occur from January to March.
Bienvenido Acabal Jr., the RCPC chief, said RRBs were spotted in Carcar City and parts of Negros Oriental.
A sap-feeding insect, the RBB is one of the most difficult pests to manage. It sucks the plant sap through the stems and nodes near the water surface.
Although it primarily feeds on rice, these pests also destroy corn and weeds.
“The reported infestation of armyworm and rice grain bug in Balamban and Carcar City, respectively, is not alarming. The low infestation in Balamban has already been contained with the immediate insecticide spraying done by the local government unit and the regional office,” Paran said.
The DA advised farmers to immediately report any pest and disease infestation to their local agriculture office or the Provincial Agriculture Office.
It also recommended reactivating the Bantay Peste Volunteer Brigade. (RTF)