Conrad Mupesa- Mashonaland West Bureau
Agricultural experts and agronomists have warned farmers against the devastating effects of the worm and urged them to use insecticides to protect their yields.
While normal to above-normal rains being experienced across the country have helped farmers to record above 90-percent germination rate for maize, soya bean and other small crops, incessant rains have however, given favourable conditions for the fall armyworm to attack crops particularly maize.
The worm also destroys cotton, groundnuts, wheat and potatoes.
Provincial Agritex agronomist, Ms Siyena Makaza said farmers should scout for fall armyworm at least twice a week to avoid their crops from being destroyed.
“Farmers should always periodically scout their fields against the fall armyworm at least twice a week so that they are not caught off guard.
While the worm is more pronounced in maize field, it also affects soya beans, beans, small grains like rapoko and sorghum,” she said.
SeedCo’s commercial agronomist, Mr Phillip Matombo reiterated the need for farmers to control fall armyworm which causes yield reduction.
“Chemicals that farmers can use to kill the worm include Belt, Avaunt, Super Dash, Blast Super Voltec and Mark 10. When spraying, farmers must increase the spray volume especially on the middle and later stage of maize crop. Spray volume has to be increased from 200 litres of water per hectare to 400 litres, but maintaining the spray chemical rate recommended per hectare by the chemical companies,” he said.
Spraying should be repeated after 14 days for effective results.
Agricura sales agronomist, Mr Tonderai Mutara said that sprays should be done around 6 to 10 am and 3 to 6 pm and farmers should always alternate insecticides with different modes of actions to avoid development of pesticides resistance.