Agriculture dept monitoring pest attack on corn crop

Photo used for illustration purposes only

BACHOK – The Kelantan Agriculture Department is monitoring the attack by a type of insect on corn crop in the Bachok district to prevent the situation from spreading to neighbouring states, like Terengganu and Pahang.

State Agriculture director Norbahani Zakaria said the insect, known as fall army worm or scientifically known as Spodoptera frugiperda, which is a type of moth, could fly up to 100 kilometre a day and would lay eggs on the corn plant, with the larvae feeding on the young corns.

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The pest attack started in Thailand and then spread to Perlis, Kedah, and then Kelantan with reports in Jeli, Tanah Merah, Pasir Mas, Tumpat, Pasir Puteh and most recently in Bachok, she told reporters during a visit to a corn crop which is attacked by the pest in Kampung Sungai here today.

She said the pest attack could be controlled at an early stage by spraying pesticide, but if the attack happened when the corn is producing corn ears, the plants have to be cut and burnt.

Head of the Kampung Sungai integrated corn farming group, Mohamed Noor Awang Hamat, 71, said suffered a loss of almost RM200,000 when more than 70 percent of his corn crop was damaged by the moth in the past two weeks.

He said his crop would be ready for harvesting early next month.

The pest damaged the crop, making the plants to dry and wilt, and it also feed on the young corns, he added.

— BERNAMA