PALAY PESTS. The brown plant funnels monitored one of the farms in the Cagayan Valley. A Department of Agriculture official in Region 2 said Monday (March 15, 2021) the pests had devastated 233 hectares of palay farms in the region. (Photo courtesy of DA Region 2)

TUGUEGARAO CITY – The Department of Agriculture in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) (DA-2) is conducting orientation and field demonstrations to help farmers control the infestation of brown plant hoppers that have been devastating their crops for several weeks.

Mindaflor Aquino, senior science specialist at the Regional Crop Protection Management Center (RCPMC), told the Philippine news agency on Monday that Plant Hopper Palay disease had caused damage to 233 hectares of farms in one and six cities in one and six cities PHP has burdened cities in the region.

RCPMC reports to the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Unit 2.

Aquino said they had started educating farmers on the use of metarhician, a bio-control agent, on palay farms in the area affected by brown plant funnels.

“We’ve seen an increase in cases over the past few weeks, so we’ve been monitoring the affected areas. We encourage farmers to report the infestation immediately in order to control the situation, ”she said.

Aquino said the infested palay farms were recorded as follows: 178 acres in Gamu, Burgos and Cauayan City, all in Isabela; 20 hectares in Villaverde, Kayapa and Bagabag, all in Nueva Vizcaya; and 35 hectares in the city of Baggao in Cagayan.

Finding the brown plant funnels can lay 200 eggs in just one cycle, she said these bugs can destroy 50 to 100 percent of Palay crops if left unchecked.

“The situation of a changing season with rainy and sunny days was favorable for the brown plant funnels. Because of this, we saw the infestation for the first time in five years, ”said Aquino.

Rice straws can spread the brown plant funnels that hide on stems. She therefore advised plowing farms immediately after the harvest to kill and cover the pests underground. (PNA)