A Soil Scientist, Prof. Lateef Taiwo and his team at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, have detected Armyworms devastating maize farms around South-West ecology.
Taiwo made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Wednesday.
He said the Armyworm was part of the order of Lepidoptera, the larval life stage of a fall Armyworm moth, adding that it can wreak havoc to crops if left to multiply.
“Its name is derived from its feeding habits, they strongly prefer grasses, cereals like maize, it can mercilessly eat the stem of the crop as well as the leaves,’’ he said.
The scientist advised farmers to maintain farm hygiene and use improved varieties of vegetables resistant to the diseases.
“Some of the improved seeds of vegetables can be obtained from National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), while improved varieties of maize can be obtained from IAR&T, Ibadan as both have mandate on the crops.
“Farmers can also use control measures like chemical, biological control, use of botanicals that is the use of plant extracts; chemical control is not environment friendly though effective.
“Therefore, advice should be sought when such chemicals are being used, biological control is also effective; presently, my team is working on biological control measures using some micro-organisms,’’ he said.
Taiwo urged farmers to always contact the institutes for advice that will be given to them based on the information supplied by the farmers.
He said the use of biological insecticides was also effective, adding that some micro-organisms could kill the insects especially during their developmental stages.
“These micro-organisms are secret poisons that impair or kill the insects, the insecticides are not something you buy in market, so farmers should consult ADP’s or research institutes,” he said.
He further explained that when a plant is resistant to disease attack, it has the capacity to resist and tolerate attacks from whatever agent.
“And such plants don’t show any symptom even if the disease agent succeeds in attacking them,’’ Taiwo said.
The Armyworms disease is coming just a few weeks after the emergence of a disease popularly termed “Tomato Ebola” that has ravaged Tomato production in the country.