The Plant Pest Surveillance Team of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR) continues to conduct surveillance activities to keep track of plant pest infestations in the region.
Based on the surveillance conducted in the province of Apayao last February 2022, major pests observed include leaf folders/caterpillars and rice blasts with minimal or negligible infection.
To further assess the status of the pest infestation, the team revisited the farms and was able to monitor 44 sites in Apayao, particularly in the municipalities of Flora, Pudtol, and Sta. Marcela. The activity also intends to determine the limits of distribution of pests in the said areas.
Geotagging and surveillance using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) were also conducted as part of the activity. Findings revealed that around 470 hectares were surveyed and all under the fallow period.
Meanwhile, the presence of ratoon rice was also observed on the farm sites. Ratooning is a practice whereby the rice crop is allowed to regrow after harvesting, a strategy that is usually done to increase productivity while minimizing the cost of labor and cultivation.
Regular monitoring of the farm sites will be continuously conducted to carefully document the process, especially the series of steps to improve the designed surveillance program. Farmers were also encouraged to continue the best practices in the management strategy to control pests in rice fields and reduce pesticide use on smallholder, agricultural farms.