Sri Lanka - Fall army worm marches on

Over 50 percent of the maize cultivation during the 2018/2019 Maha Season (43,000 hectares) has been infested by the Fall Army Worm (FAW) which made its way into the country recently, Professor of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya. Around 75,000-80,000 hectares of maize is cultivated during the Maha Season and around 9,000-10,000 hectares during the Yala season. According to Prof. Marambe the pest has a greater affinity towards maize but could also attack about another 100 plant species. “What is alarming is the adult moth’s ability of a single wind-aided flight of about 80-100 kilometres which enables the pest to be invasive during a short period over a wider land area,” he said. According to research, the pest possess all the characteristics of being invasive, such as short life cycle (about 60 days) and multiple egg-laying cycles (about five times during the 10-21 days long life span of the moth, laying 50-200 eggs). Studies have also revealed that the moth can lay 1,500-2,000 eggs during its life cycle. The pest lives in many plant hosts and the adult moth travels long distances to lay eggs. “The impact of the pest on crops has already been felt with the destruction caused to maize grown mainly to provide part of the animal feed. Loss of maize crop yield will affect farmer income, resulting in loss of investment and loss of foreign exchange due to importation of maize to support industries such as poultry,” Prof. Marambe said. Maize farmers hit by the invasive species are hoping for a speedy solution to the crisis that has taken a toll on their livelihood. However, the silver lining for maize farmers is the prompt action taken by the government to compensate the loss caused by the ‘Sena Caterpillar’ to pay a maximum of Rs. 40,000 per acre. The government has also allocated around Rs. 120 million to address the issue. “The intervention by the authorities will no doubt bring some solace to the affected farmer community,” Prof. Marambe said while adding that Sri Lanka has good plant and animal quarantine services in the ports of entry to the country. The National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQS), for example, is fully geared towards detecting alien organisms, especially pests of this nature, through their rigorous protocols. He said based on the information available, the entry of the pest to Sri Lanka was definitely not due to the weaknesses of the quarantine process. There may be many other ways for the pest to enter such s through aerial routes owing to its capacity to fly long distances, which I understand to be highly likely. However he said in some cases, lack of skilled human resources could delay the screening process. All planting materials legally brought to the country by government or the Private sector goes through this screening process. The biological cycle of the pest indicates little or no chances that it entered Sri Lanka through planting materials imported into Sri Lanka. According to him with over 100 plant species being recorded globally as host plants, including major crops and some troublesome weeds, the situation is critical in terms of eradicating the pest. Unless proper control measures are adopted and action is taken to destroy the species there will be a devastating impact on local crops. Prof. Marambe said an integrated pest management approach has been launched by the Department of Agriculture with the help of all stakeholders, to use five pesticides that could kill Spodoptera spp with techniques that have yielded fruitful results in other instances. The five pesticides are those containing the active ingredients Spinetoram, Spinosad, Emmamectin benzoate, Chlorantranoprole, and a mixture of Chroantraniprole + Thiomexam. These pesticides have been provided to farmers at 50 percent of its cost. Source -

Europe - Around 66,000 ha damaged - 23 million euros in damages


While Vereinigte Hagelversicherung VVaG reported 30,000 hectares damaged just a few days ago, this figure has more than doubled within a few days. A good 66,000 hectares were registered for regulation from June 18 to 25. This is due to so-called supercells, which came from France through Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria to Austria and the Czech Republic, causing hailstorms over a length of several hundred kilometers. Local heavy rainfall with enormous amounts of rain from so-called "water bombs" and hailstones the size of tennis balls caused damage to almost all crops, often with total losses. On June 22 and again on June 24, the damage area stretched from Lake Starnberg via Munich to Passau. In Baden-Württemberg, the Neckar-Alb region was hardest hit on June 21 and, just two days later, the strip from Freiburg via Reutlingen to Esslingen. A locally intense area of damage extended along the North Sea coast in the Groningen-Norden-Aurich triangle on both the Dutch and German sides of the border. In addition, abroad, the polder areas on the IJsselmeer and the Baltic region were particularly affected. After the first surveys, Vereinigte Hagel now expects damage of about 20 to 23 million euros, a doubling compared to the beginning of last week. Supercells and what they are about - currently no end in sight The background to the now considerably higher damage figures are so-called supercells, which have a much higher damage potential than ordinary thunderstorms due to their rotation and longevity. "Their most important feature is the so-called "mesocyclone," a powerful rotating updraft. It creates a negative pressure on the ground so that, like a vacuum cleaner, warm and energetic air can be constantly sucked in at the ground and reach the upper edge of the troposphere (above 10 km altitude). There the warm air is sucked in and there is also the danger of possible tornadoes. Subsequently, in the area of the sinking cold air, it is not uncommon for extreme downbursts to reach the hurricane range. Over time, supercells develop a momentum of their own that prevents the sinking cold air (as compensation for the rising warm air) from entering the warm air area. Thus, the mesocyclone is fed with warm air for several hours. Due to the longevity and massive power of the rotating updraft, hailstones can be flung into the air several times, growing into large hailstones. From Monday through Thursday, conditions in southern Germany were ideal for these rotating monsters. A warm and humid air mass was stored in the lower atmosphere, so to speak the fuel for the engine of the rotating mesocyclones. In addition, the wind near the ground came from an easterly to northeasterly direction (which favored suction), veered nearly 180° to the southwest up to an altitude of about 5 kilometers, and increased significantly. In short, there was sufficient directional and velocity shear. This is a basic requirement for the formation of rotation in the updraft region and helps to prevent the sinking cold air from reaching the front of the thunderstorm cell." And it's set to continue. The DWD forecasts heavy thunderstorms in the south and southwest of Germany on Monday evening, as well as on Tuesday. Experts prepared for this, because in June or July such weather phenomena are not uncommon, as Vereinigte Hagel knows from almost 200 years of experience. Source -


India - Crop loss imminent as IMD rules out rainfall till August-end in Odisha

With the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday ruling out the possibility of any significant rainfall in the State till the end of August, drought seems to have become imminent. IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra told media persons that 27 districts of the State have received 33 per cent less than the normal rainfall from June to August and deficit rainfall in August was 55 per cent. 


Germany - 2021 wheat crop to fall 3.6% after adverse weather

Germany's 2021 wheat crop of all types is expected to fall 3.6% on the year to 21.37 million tonnes after poor weather, according to estimates released by the agriculture ministry on Wednesday. Crops suffered from swings in weather, with a cold spring followed by a hot, dry start to the summer and then unwelcome harvest-time rain and storms, the ministry said in preliminary forecasts for the 2021 harvest. 


Egypt - Weather has caused a reduction in the mango harvest

There’s still a few more months left in the Egyptian mango season, but the year has brought significant challenges. The weather resulted in 30% less production this year, and the heat could be a threat to other Egyptian produce as well. Demand has been solid, but the lower harvest has resulted in a price increase. 


USA - Severe weather destroys thousands of acres of crop in Fairbank

Thousands of acres of corn and soybean in Fairbank were destroyed Tuesday night after severe storms rolled through eastern Iowa. A clearer picture of the scale of destruction was made clear on Wednesday. Adrienna Olson with the Buchanan County Farm Service Agency says only a few reports from Fairbank and Hazelton Township have been reported. They include corn and soybean damage. 


USA - Heat bears down on California grapes

California grape growers continue to contend with heat and drought issues. “There is ample volume of red and green seedless. There will be some shortages though I imagine,” says Philippe Markarian of Fresno, CA-based Mirabella Farms. “We won’t see them at the moment but it will be on red and black seedless grapes. 


India - Farmers in Erode urged to insure crops for Kharif season

The district administration has asked the farmers in the district to insure crops under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme) for Kharif season 2021 so that they can get relief for crop loss due to natural calamities, pest attack or disease outbreak in the current rabi season. 


Online Agroinsurance Conference to be held on October 4-5, 2021

Due to the concerns around health safety of conference participants and in accordance with the guidance from the Georgian health authorities, AgroInsurance is forced to reschedule Conference to year 2022. More detailed information about new dates and arrangements will be provided in February 2022. Notwithstanding another reschedule of the Conference, AgroInsurance is committed to conduct the online webinar with 2 sessions on October 4-5, 2021. 


Malaysia - Sarawak Disaster Management Committee to assist durian farmers

The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee is intent on working out a mechanism for durian farmers in areas under Covid-19 lockdown to bring out their fruits to the market. Its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said he would discuss with the divisional health department to work out a suitable arrangement.