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November 19, 2013

"Phytosanitary Emergency" Declared for State of Mato Grosso

The Minister of Agriculture in Brazil on Monday declared a "state of phytosanitary emergency" in the state of Mato Grosso. The degree authorizes the state government to take whatever actions are deemed necessary to help control the corn earworm. This will allow the state to authorize the importation and use of chemicals that may not yet be registered for use in Brazil. Mato Grosso was singled out because it is the largest producer of soybeans, corn, and cotton in Brazil - all of which the caterpillar likes to eat.

The eventual soybean yield will depend on the weather as well as the disease and insect pressures. Everyone in Brazil continues to be on the watch for corn earworms and scientists are recommending that farmers scout their fields every two days to judge the level of infection. There are reports of farmers in Mato Grosso spraying every ten days for the pest just to be sure it does not get out of control.

Dow AgroScience has obtained emergency registrations in Brazil for the use of two of its insecticides, Tracer for soybeans and cotton and Intrepid for cotton. These two products have distinct modes of action to control the caterpillars, which is highly desirable. Lorsban is recommended for control early in the growing season and then Tracer and Intrepid when the crops are in vegetative development and reproductive.

The new pest has already been found virtually everywhere in Brazil except for the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul and scientists expect to find it in that state eventually. The Brazilian Agricultural Research Service, Embrapa, is in the process of setting up research plots all throughout the country to monitor the effectiveness of control measures and the extent of potential crop damage should the control prove to be less than adequate.