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Armyworms attack crops in 2 Antique towns

SAN JOSE, Philippines – Two municipalities of the province- Barbaza and Laua-an were reported infested by armyworms.
Agricultural Technician Serafin Yanga of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist reported during the recent Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) meeting that armyworms or cutworms and commonly called ‘tagustus’ in local dialect destroyed rice, sugarcane and corn plants in the said two municipalities.
Yanga said that the armyworms affected some 204.75 hectares of land planted to rice; 298.8 hectares of land planted to sugarcane, and one hectare for corn.
Yanga said that the local government of Laua-an directly reported the infestation to the regional office of the Department of Agriculture.
Yanga said that after they gathered the report from the DA Regional Office, they conducted inspection and validations of the reported infestations in the two areas of the province.
Recommendations on how to manage the infestations were given by the Provincial Agriculturist’s office, Yanga said.
No report on estimated costs of damage to crops were readily made available during the PDRRMC meeting, but Yanga said the situation is now manageable.
According to a fact sheet on agriculture, armyworm feeds on rice by cutting off leaves and young seedlings at the plant’s base. They can also cut off rice panicles from base.
Adult armyworms can survive better and produce more eggs when the temperature is at 15 °C maximum, and when plants are naturally fertilized. Periods of drought followed by heavy rains, and the presence of alternate hosts also sustain the development of armyworms.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.