Evaluation of action thresholds for chronic rice insect pests in the Philippines. I. Less frequently occurring pests and overall assessment uri icon

abstract

  • Action thresholds as decision tools for insecticide application were developed and tested against the major insect pests of rice at four sites in the Philippines over a 13-year period. Action threshold treatments were compared to the farmers' practice, prophylactic insecticide usage, and an untreated check. Yield loss data using the insecticide check method partitioned yield losses over three crop growth stages in the same test fields. Chronic pests that exceeded action thresholds in 79% of fields were whorl maggot Hydrellia philippina Ferino (Diptera: Ephydridae), defoliators Naranga aenescens Moore and Rivula atimeta (Swinhoe) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), leaffolders Cnaphalocrocis medinalis (Guenee) and Marasmia patnalis Bradley (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), and stemborers Scirpophaga incertulas (Walker) and S. innotata (Walker) ( Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Minor chronic pests reached threshold levels in only one site each: rice bug Leptocorisa oratorius (F.) (Koronadal), whitebacked planthopper Sogatella furcifera (Horvath) (Zaragoza) and green leafhopper Nephotettix virescens (Distant) (Guimba); brown planthopper Nilaparvata lugens (Stal) did not exceed a threshold in any field. Stemborers were the most important pest group in terms of yield loss. Despite the insecticide check method underestimating losses, a mean crop loss of 0.62 t/ha was measured which showed ample scope for corrective action. But loss was evenly distributed across crop growth stages (0.15-0.24 t/ha) reducing the impact of insecticides. Action threshold treatments overall outyielded the untreated check, more so in the two sites with highest pest density. The benefit of thresholds was to reduce insecticide usage, as a cost saving. However all the practices showed poor economic returns including the farmers' practice. Farmers' practice employed low insecticide dosages and timing was not consistent with pest damage, but yields were often similar to threshold treatments. Farmers appear to use insecticide more for risk aversion than for profit. The best threshold characters when evaluated against resulting pest density and yield loss criteria showed accuracies > 90% correct decisions. Future work is needed to improve the insecticide response rather than monitoring tools. Thresholds need to be incorporated into improved crop management, which was often found suboptimal by farmers, to take advantage of the high levels of tolerance in modern high tillering cultivars. Crop husbandry practices which improve yield potential such as selection of longer maturing varieties and nitrogen fertilizer may be a more effective pest management strategy than insecticides.

publication date

  • 2005
  • 2005
  • 2005