Visit Our 2014 Sponsors
Thank you to our Sponsors for their generosity and support.
* For information about our Sustaining Sponsorship Program please click here.
 
 


Michigan Agri-Business Association

"Michigan's Voice for Agriculture" 

1501 North Shore Dr., Suite A | East Lansing, MI 48823 | 517-336-0223

- DTN Headline News
Prepping for a Pest
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 8:57AM CDT

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

ST. LOUIS (DTN) -- Helicoverpa armigera, the Old World bollworm currently munching its way through South America, could be very happy in the United States. That's the sobering assessment of a new government document aimed at preparing for the pest's possible immigration to this country.

Taking into consideration climate, cropping habits and wild plant hosts of this country, "H. armigera could potentially become established in every state of the continental U.S.," the USDA's new Pest Response Guidelines for H. armigera concluded. The new guidelines were developed to help state and federal officials react quickly if the pest were ever to make its way into American agricultural fields.

Until recently, H. armigera has been a very distant threat for American farmers. The caterpillar causes enormous agricultural damage each year across the globe, with nearly a third of all global pesticide applications aimed at killing it in distant places such as China, India, Australia, Africa and Europe.

The pest struck closer to home in January 2013 when H. armigera showed up in cotton and soybean fields in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Although the pest's pathway to Brazil is still unknown, U.S. officials would like to make sure the caterpillar doesn't stray farther. In the case of an invasion, however, the new pest response guidelines document sets forth the regulations and steps involved in identifying and quarantining the pest.

POSSIBLE SOURCES

An invasion by a Bt-resistant population of the caterpillar would represent the greatest threat to American farmers, who rely heavily on Bt-crops to control other agricultural pests.

Globally, the pest has "developed resistance to the widest range of insecticides of any insect targeted, with populations having demonstrated resistance to organochlorines, organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethroids, spinosad and Bt toxins," the guidelines noted.

Specifically, H. armigera populations in China, Australia, India, and Pakistan have shown resistance to some Bt proteins, primarily Cry1Ac.

Knowing where the pest is from and which types of resistance it could sport is part of preparing for an invasion. Like many invasive pests, H. armigera has actually breached U.S. borders on hundreds of occasions in the past. According to the new guidelines, between June 1984 and August 2013, H. armigera has been intercepted at U.S. ports of entry 965 times.

Just over half of those H. armigera interceptions originated from Israel or the Netherlands, and 67% were found on cut flowers.

Fortunately for U.S. farmers, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is not aware of any documented insecticide or Bt-resistant populations of the caterpillar in the Netherlands or Israel, according to a written response by APHIS officials to DTN's questions.

Moreover, of the countries seeing H. armigera resistance to Bt proteins, only India surfaced significantly on the pest response guidelines' list of insect interceptions, where it represented 8% of all H. armigera interceptions in the U.S. since 1984.

PROTOCOL FOR AN INVASION

Should H. armigera ever make it past port inspectors and into an American field, the insects would hit the second line of defense outlined in the pest response guidelines: yearly scouting efforts orchestrated by the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS). Every year, states work with the USDA to plan out surveys for invasive pests, based on how likely the pest is to enter the state, survive its climate and eat its crops. Since 1995, 39 states have been surveyed negatively for H. armigera, APHIS officials told DTN.

The pest response guidelines lay out the best surveying methods and insect traps for H. armigera, and establish proper identification and regulatory steps in case a potential specimen is found. Official identification of the pest requires dissection of the genitalia for adult moths and DNA analysis for eggs, larvae, or pupae.

Even before experts confirm the pest's identity, APHIS can issue an Emergency Action Notification that allows the agency "to hold the movement of potentially infested plant products while final confirmatory identification by a recognized authority is completed," APHIS officials told DTN.

If the pest is officially confirmed as H. armigera, then "delimiting surveys" would be launched to establish how widespread the infestation is. "In an emergency response, during the delimitation phase, historically we have set up with state departments of agriculture, on site laboratories with trained personnel to process large numbers of samples from the field," APHIS officials explained.

Ultimately, a lot of things would need to go right for an H. armigera specimen to establish itself successfully after evading port inspectors, APHIS officials concluded.

"It should also be noted that in order for H. armigera to proliferate on U.S. soils large numbers of any life stage would have to escape detections at points of entry, develop to the adult stage on local hosts, find a mate, and successfully reproduce," APHIS officials said.

You can see the new pest response guidelines for Helicoverpa armigera here: http://goo.gl/….

You can find the CAPS survey history and data for H. armigera here: http://goo.gl/….

Emily Unglesbee can be reached at emily.unglesbee@dtn.com

Follow Emily Unglesbee on Twitter @Emily_Unglesbee

(AG)


blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
DTN Market Matters Blog
Katie Micik
Markets Editor
Friday, August 1, 2014 6:25PM CDT
Friday, July 25, 2014 7:20PM CDT
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 11:45AM CDT
Technically Speaking
Darin Newsom
DTN Senior Analyst
Thursday, July 31, 2014 7:27PM CDT
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 1:36PM CDT
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 1:50PM CDT
Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin
DTN Contributing Analyst
Friday, August 1, 2014 12:42PM CDT
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:50PM CDT
Thursday, July 24, 2014 2:34PM CDT
DTN Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Friday, August 1, 2014 6:09PM CDT
Thursday, July 31, 2014 5:18PM CDT
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:14PM CDT
Minding Ag's Business
Marcia Taylor
DTN Executive Editor
Thursday, July 31, 2014 3:56PM CDT
Thursday, July 24, 2014 4:46PM CDT
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 3:59PM CDT
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Friday, August 1, 2014 6:48PM CDT
Thursday, July 31, 2014 3:43PM CDT
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:41PM CDT
Friday, August 1, 2014 11:29PM CDT
Friday, August 1, 2014 7:25PM CDT
Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:39PM CDT
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Thursday, July 17, 2014 11:54AM CDT
Thursday, July 10, 2014 8:46PM CDT
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 7:24PM CDT
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Friday, July 25, 2014 9:40PM CDT
Friday, July 18, 2014 10:22PM CDT
Friday, July 11, 2014 6:04PM CDT
South America Calling
Alastair Stewart
South America Correspondent
Monday, July 14, 2014 4:17PM CDT
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 4:17PM CDT
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 4:15PM CDT
An Urban’s Rural View
Urban Lehner
Editor Emeritus
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:05AM CDT
Friday, July 18, 2014 11:21AM CDT
Monday, July 14, 2014 4:23PM CDT
Machinery Chatter
Jim Patrico
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 5:47PM CDT
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 7:19PM CDT
Tuesday, July 8, 2014 12:05PM CDT
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Friday, August 1, 2014 9:26PM CDT
Thursday, July 31, 2014 9:58PM CDT
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 9:52PM CDT
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Friday, July 25, 2014 6:07PM CDT
Friday, July 18, 2014 6:08PM CDT
Saturday, July 12, 2014 3:22AM CDT
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN