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January 16, 2014

"Phytosanitary Emergency" Decreed for State of Mato Grosso

Federal officials in Brazil have declared a state of "phytosanitary emergency" in the state of Mato Grosso concerning the control of the corn earworm. The decree was announced by the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Andrade, and it will be valid for a one year period. The corn earworm has been found in virtually all the crop growing regions of Brazil and the main purpose of the decree is to allow the use of chemicals that are currently not registered in Brazil.

In addition to allowing non-registered chemicals to be used, the decree also encourages many other cultural practices to aid in the control of the pest including: using varieties of soybeans, corn, and cotton that are more resistant to the insect, biological controls, integrated pest management techniques that helps to maintain the pest's natural enemies, crop rotations, use of refuse areas, and the elimination of host plants during the off season.

Additional consideration is being given to examining the periods during which certain crops may be grown in the state. Currently, soybeans may not be grown in the state during the 90-day soybean-free period which begins on June 15 and goes through September 15. The purpose of the restriction is to allow time for diseases and pests to die off between growing seasons.

If the soybean free period is lengthened as a means to control insect populations, it would need to be started earlier in the year in May or April. Starting the restricted period that early would essentially eliminate any possibility of planting two soybean crops back-to-back during the same growing season.

Mato Grosso is Brazil's leading producer of soybeans, corn, and cotton. The soybeans are grown as the first crop in the state and the corn is grown as a double crop planted after the soybeans are harvested. Approximately, 2% of 2013/14 soybean crop in the state has been harvested and farmers will finish planting their second crop of corn generally by the end of February.