Leafhoppers damage Libon palay farms

By Mar S. Arguelles


GREEN leafhoppers (GLH) have attacked hundreds of hectares of rice fields in Libon town in Albay infecting the rice plants that were on vegetation stage with Rice Tungro Virus (RVT), the Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol said last week.


Emily Bordado, DA Bicol spokesperson, said the presence of GLH which serve as vectors and carriers of the RVT has affected some 122 hectares of rice fields in Libon, considered as the rice granary of Albay province.


The infected rice fields affected 114 farmers, Bordado said.


Bordado said rice plants infected by RTV are stunted and reduce the number of palay panicles.


Bordado said infected palay have leaves that have yellow-orange color, which start in the clusters and spreads in other rice plants.


According to Giovanni Valenciano, Regional Crop Pest Management Center chief, the reasons for the occurrence of the infestation include the presence of GLH, wrong planting practices, use of rice varieties not susceptible to RTV, and rice plants at their early stage are more susceptible and prone to infections.


Giovanni noted that almost all affected rice plants in Libon are in the vegetative stage and most of the farmers practice the three cropping, which does not allow for a rest period for the soil.


The DA has recommended massive spraying of insecticide in the affected areas to stop the spread of RTV. The agency sent 20 liters of insecticide for use by Libon farmers to eliminate the GLH.


However, the DA has cautioned farmers that chemical spraying should only be resorted to if necessary and should not be done on the seedbed and when the palay grains are already more than 60 days.