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Fall armyworms wreak havoc

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Upon intervention from the technical team, some corn crops were rescued and other farms in the province have not yet been affected by the armyworms. Ministry of Agriculture

Fall armyworms wreak havoc

The General Department of Agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said 400ha of corn crops in Banteay Meanchey province has been half-destroyed by a new type of invasive insect in the area called the fall armyworm.

The fall armyworm is the larval life stage of a fall armyworm moth.

According to a department report, agricultural officials intervened at the request of residents from June 3 to June 6 and they were able to save the crops from further destruction.

The report said crops in O’Sralao, Tuol Pongro, Boeung Beng and O’Sampoar communes in Malai district suffered the most damage. In O’Sampoar commune, between 80 and 90 per cent of the crops were destroyed in a 50ha area.

The department said: “Corn crops which suffered from this new kind of armyworm were still growing. According to the evaluation of the working group, more crops were destroyed in May than in June. June has had more rain, which makes fertilisers and pesticides more effective.”

Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Pang Vannaseth told The Post on Tuesday that upon intervention from the technical team, some corn crops were rescued and other farms in the province have not yet been affected by the armyworms.

He said: “This armyworm also destroyed farms last year. They came from outside the country and have spread all over Asia. It occurred in Laos, now it has spread to Cambodia.”

The department said the technical team also recommended that farmers attempt to catch the moths with traps, clear tall grass within and outside the farm, and plough land around their farms to eliminate shelters for the moths.

It also recommended the use of pesticides to eradicate the armyworms and said farmers should use certain pesticides up to seven weeks after a corn crop is planted.

From the seventh week, farmers should stop using pesticides and monitor their crops for the invasive insects, it said.

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