THE Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) on Friday reported crop production losses worth about P1.7 million due to rice grain bug infestation in southern Negros Occidental.
Reports showed that almost 38 hectare in farms in Sipalay City, covering 34 farmers, were damaged.
Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said rice grain bug is an emerging pest which occurs on both dry and wet seasons.
“Previously only leguminous crops are attacked by this pest but it has transferred to rice,” Masculino said.
The OPA had observed its first occurrence in Sipalay City last year, then in Kabankalan City and Candoni town, all in southern part of the province.
As immediate measure, OPA, through the Sipalay City Agriculture Office, distributed 25 bags of metarhizium anisopliae as biocontrol to affected farmers in the locality.
The metarhizium, given for free, was sourced from the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 6-Regional Crop Production Center (RCPC).
Masculino said they are sourcing metarhizium from the DA-6 for the meantime as OPA is still in the process of producing its own supply.
Masculino said that after the spraying of metarhizium, farmers are advised to plow the field and flood it with water.
“Having the field overflowed with water is one measure to destroy grain bugs,” the OPA chief said, adding that local government units (LGUs) are urged to conduct information campaign and regular monitoring especially in rice areas that are still in tillering to booting stages.
To allay possible adverse effects of pest infestation, the OPA Crop Protection Team will also conduct agri-clinic on pest management among Bantay Peste Brigade in every city and municipality in the province. (PNA)