In January 2019, for the first time, China was affected by the worldwide spread of the insect pest, fall armyworm (spodoptera frugiperda). The pest subsequently spread rapidly to 27 Chinese provinces. The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture quickly reacted, in collaboration with the agricultural departments of all provinces and cities to carry out research and experimentation and promote various prevention and control measures, resulting in initial success.
According to information obtained by AgroPages at the National Fall Armyworm Prevention and Control Seminar held in Guangzhou on 24th November, 2019, initial fall armyworm damage is expected to occur in large areas of China in 2020. As well as corn, wheat, peanut and sugarcane will face challenges.
National Fall Armyworm Prevention and Control Seminar
The seminar was held jointly by the Fall Armyworm Prevention and Control Expert Group of Guangdong Province, South China Agricultural University, and the Plant Protection Institute of Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, supported by FMC (China) Investment Co., Ltd. The seminar was attended by experts and researchers from over 200 scientific research institutions in 24 provinces, including the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the National Agro-Tech Extension and Service Center and China Agricultural University. Its participants shared and discussed the latest fall armyworm occurrence and control situation, which will help establish a more efficient and complete prevention and control system for the next stages of action.
Yang Puyun (Researcher from the National Agro-Tech Extension and Service Center) said that fall armyworm has a wide range of hosts and is able to migrate and spread to large areas. It has also become resistant to various pesticides, making prevention and control extremely difficult. In 2019, fall armyworm affected nation-wide corn production area of 1,104,347 hectares, accounted for 98.61% of the total damaged area. The damaged sugarcane area accounted for 1.09% and the rest crops accounted for 0.3%. Up to 8th October, fall armyworm affected 27 provinces, including cities and districts, while 22 provinces encompassing more than 1,340 counties suffered damage.
Yang Puyun, Researcher from the National Agro-Tech Extension and Service Center
During the seminar, Wu Kongming (Researcher from the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences) said that the greatest achievement of China’s fall armyworm control efforts this year is the timely elimination of adult fall armyworm that spread over the ground through prevention and control measures, which slowed down its overall spread and saved 66 million hectares of corn. By creating a fall armyworm migration monitor and early warning prevention and control system, the objective of reducing the number of migratory insect pests has been achieved. This year, China recorded an average control efficiency of above 90% in corn fields, and the average yield loss in the affected regions is being controlled to under 5%, which are the expected results.
Wu Kongming, Researcher from the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
With regards to the occurrence trend of fall armyworm in 2020, Wu Kongming believes that the pest has completed its colonization stage in China’s tropical and subtropical regions, and this population is far higher than the number of insects migrating north in 2019. In the spring of 2020, migration to the transition area (Yangtze River Basin) will be one generation earlier than 2019. After the spring of 2020, an outbreak of fall armyworm is expected to occur. Besides corn, wheat, peanut and sugarcane will face issues, therefore, a serious prevention and control situation is predicted.
Gao Xiwu (Professor at China Agricultural University) researched the resistance of fall armyworm and found that the pest is highly resistant to pyrethroids (beta-cypermethrin, fenvalerate, deltamethrin), organophosphates (malathion, phoxim) and carbamates (indoxacarb), while amides (chlorantraniliprole) and emamectin benzoate are currently effective. Gao suggested the use of insecticides precisely at the right time and right place via a tactical application plan, to maintain resistance management and reduce the incidence of resistance.
Gao Xiwu, Professor at China Agricultural University
At the seminar, research fellows from Huazhong Agricultural University, Hunan Agricultural University, the Plant Protection Institute of Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Plant Protection Institute of Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Agricultural Environment and Resources Research Institute of Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Plant Protection Institute of Henan Academy of Agricultural Sciences and FMC (China) all gave their opinions on the following subjects: ovicidal activity on fall armyworm, effective biological control of metarhizium and entomopathogenic nematodes, the outbreak mechanism of fall armyworm from an evolutionary genome point of view, and new application methods, such as effective aerial application. These inputs, which were given by researchers from multiple perspectives, will serve as a good theoretic basis and generate practical recommendations for the effective and precision prevention and control of fall armyworm.
In the face of the considerable challenges posed by fall armyworm on the food security strategy, the world’s leading agricultural company, FMC, published an internal early warning message in November 2017. In over 30 countries across the world, FMC quickly initiated research studies on the occurrence mechanism and damage characteristics of fall armyworm, and actively organized chlorantraniliprole control technique-based cross-nation training and experience exchange activities, to constantly improve field application options.
Wu Zhaohui, President of FMC (China), said, to the participants of the seminar, that FMC has actively joined the fall armyworm monitor and control activities led by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. It has also participated in a number of fall armyworm control research and field demonstration programs in various provinces. FMC has arranged 896 indoor activity screening and outdoor demonstration programs using chlorantraniliprole and cyantraniliprole products, covering nearly 100 counties and cities in 23 provinces. The experimental results show that chlorantraniliprole and cyantraniliprole are very effective in controlling fall armyworm and are easy to use, with long-lasting effects while being environmentally-friendly.
Wu Zhaohui, President of FMC (China)
FMC’s patented chlorantraniliprole is included in the crop protection solution programs of several provinces, cities and counties in China, where the product has played a key role in preventing and controlling fall armyworm. FMC is still working on continuously improving the technical process of applying chlorantraniliprole, including by using new application methods, such as aerial application, drip irrigation and precision spot application. So far, preliminary success has been recorded.
The prevention and control of fall armyworm, which is a world-wide problem insect pest, requires the joint efforts of all countries, relevant authorities and plant protection industry players via multi-mode prevention and control means, with the integration of quarantine, monitoring, biological and chemical measures. This academic seminar will help guide China’s future fall armyworm monitor and control actions, and will be have far-reaching significance to China’s food security strategy.