Diatraea control: everyone's commitment

Resolution 17848 issued by the ICA establishes preventive, corrective and sanctioning measures in the management of the pest in cane crops throughout the country.

Diatraea spp. It is not only economically impacting the sugarcane agribusiness in the Cauca River Valley. Mainly in Norte de Santander, Santander, Boyacá and Antioquia, mountainous regions with sugar cane crops for panela, there are fields affected with damage levels ranging from 10% to 15% of drilled internodes.

At the end of 2017, the Colombian Agricultural Institute, ICA, declared four species of Diatraea, with which it becomes an obligation on the part of mills and growers to implement measures for the management of D. saccharalis, D.indigenella, D.busckella y D. tabernella.

The Resolution establishes preventive and correct measuresivas that are not new to the sector, or some whose applicability must be evaluated by the technical assistant and the grower, such as "harvesting on the established date"; however, it is important to take them into account in a context of individual responsibility towards the different farms. According to Germán Vargas, Cenicaña entomologist, “Sanctions are not really a cause for concern because of the tradition that agro-industry has with the use of biological control of Diatraea, but we must consider that an integrated pest management does not exclude any of the participants and thus the Resolution establishes that no matter how small a property is, the person in charge is neither the mill nor the neighbor, but the owner of the property ” , explains the researcher.

“Resolution 17848 of December 20, 2017 changes the way of working with the pest: our message to the farmer has always been that management actions must be established; now, with the Resolution, the 'must' becomes 'has' because it is not a problem that affects a property in question, but it is passed from one field to another. ”

The ICA provision also raises concerns about the ability of the industry regarding the availability of biological inputs (beneficial insects such as flies and wasps) to tend crops.

Currently, only the Pichichí, Mayagüez, Incauca and María Luisa mills have laboratories for the production of beneficial insects and there are thirteen companies in the Cauca river valley dedicated to biological control. In general, these are SMEs that produce charities and sell them to sugar mills and growers, even serving the market in the panelera areas.

"The question is not whether there will be a supply of inputs because some laboratories are preparing for the increase in demand, but if these companies have a formalized business scheme that meets the requirements that the mills establish for their input suppliers", Germán Vargas points out.

Some measures considered in Resolution 17848

  • Verify that the cane seed is produced in compliance with the sanitary requirements established by the ICA.
  • Promote the establishment of strips of nectariferous plants adjacent to sugarcane crops.
  • Avoid exceeding the established harvest date. Carry out adequate soil preparation practices when renovating and removing all residues from the field.
  • Establish a biological control program.
  • Maintain an updated and available documentary record for verification by the ICA of the surveillance, releases and other phytosanitary work implemented.
  • Permanently train field staff in insect pest surveillance and the use of natural enemies.
  • Use inputs registered with the ICA.
To consult

Resolution 17848 of December 20, 2017 through which phytosanitary measures are established in the cultivation of sugar cane (saccharum spp. L.) in the national territory for the surveillance and control of stem boring species of the genus Diatraea guilding.

Disclosure Series No. 17: Challenges and opportunities in handling stem borers, Diatraea spp.

Cenicana Colombia

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Information letter 
Year 6 / Number 1 / July 2018

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