Written by Ella Lois T Bestil
Come planting season, forego spraying pesticides against defoliators on the first 30 days after transplanting or 40 days after sowing, advised Gertrudo Arida, PhilRice crop protection specialist.
“Spraying pesticides this early will not only kill the defoliators in your rice plants, but also the natural enemies preying on pest defoliators,” Arida said.
According to Arida, early spraying prevents the colonization of beneficial organisms in the field. He also said that young rice plants can recover from early season damage by producing new leaves and tillers.
So, why spend on pesticides?
You are not alone
Undoing pest problems is really burdensome to farmers. But, farmers are not alone in keeping the problem in control. Arida said farmers have friends in the field that are natural enemies to rice pests.
Instead of spending money to buy pesticides, these early defoliators can be managed by allowing natural enemies like spiders, beetles, among other friendly organisms to do the work for farmers.
“Pesticides are not the only solutions to [your] rice pest problems. Indiscriminate use of pesticides can solve your pest hitches, but can drain your money, put your health to risk; giving more than one problem,” Arida stressed.
Adding more damages, continuous pesticide use will eventually make the pest resistant.
Safe and cheap preventive measures
It is imperative that farmers monitor their fields early in the morning of everyday, Arida said. This way, farmers are aware of the conditions up and about their fields.
“During field monitoring, farmers should check for signs and symptoms of pest infestation in their field, nutrition of the plants, and population of insect pests and vectors vis-à-vis the natural enemies, and assess the magnitude of the damage,” Arida advised.
An early-morning habit of checking one’s field is necessary as some of the insect pests move to other fields later in the morning.
Arida also recommended the use of suitable variety resistant to the prevalent pests in the area .Synchronized planting in the community can also spell the difference in managing pests. Arida said this scheme avoids the overlapping incidence of insect and disease populations in the locality.
“Pesticides should only be used as a corrective measure during pest outbreaks,” he added.