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How to reduce the use of chemical insecticides in the control of pests

How to reduce the use of chemical insecticides in the control of pests

Futurcrop - 07-05-2018

When talking about treatments against pests and plant diseases, best practices rules  that the constant sampling of the farm, the determination of the density of the pest or the presence of the disease are fundamental procedures, and that it is the threshold of action that determines the moment of phytosanitary treatments. But reality does not always follow that procedure. See for example the March recommendations of a pest and disease surveillance station of the Spanish Public Administration. For pears and apples, they recommend a preventive application of a cupric fungicide, for stone fruit trees they recommend the application of a cupric fungicide to prevent the early appearance of diseases such as monilinia.  To prevent Phytophthora spp in citrus, they recomend to apply systemic fungicides. And the warning continues with recommendations for cupric fungicides to reduce the inoculum of diseases in other crops.

 

Preventive treatments, as well as repeated treatments after their inefficiency, are common in agriculture. Only 30% of chemical treatments have an effect on pests, so conventional culture requires several periodic repetitions. And this practice not only increases costs, but also causes serious environmental pollution and excessive chemical residues in food (never above the maximum residue limit for each active substance, of course). That is way agriculture needs a software application that controls pests and justifies any chemical treatment, in order to be more sustainable and reduce costs.

 

On average, fruits and vegetables can receive 12 treatments, or more, with phytosanitary products. the use of agrochemicals has been generalized beyond reason. The farmer assumes that with 5-10%, of the cost of his production, or even more (depending on the country) avoids a loss by pests and diseases that could become, in the worst case, 40-100%. This percentage can go from 2,500 euros / ha of cost in greenhouse tomato treatments to 523 euros / ha in irrigated tomatoes, this being the cost of agricultural input prices, without taking into account the cost of labor and machinery.

 

In 2014, the last year for which FAO has data on global consumption of pesticides, it exceeded 3,013'97 million kilos. And in the future it is expected that the global pesticide market will register an Annual Composite Growth Rate of 5.79%, between 2017 and 2022.

 

The phytosanitary product market is nourished by the farmer's attempt to minimize the risk of loss of his crop. Chemical companies know that an infestation of back cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon, can be catastrophic for a crop of corn, tomatoes or potatoes. Its larvae, during the first three stages, can consume 400 centimeters of the aerial part of the plants. Farmers try to prevent its damage. But without additional help that provides information on the pest biological development this is a difficult task. Females can lay an average of 1,800 eggs. But the eggs take to hatch from 4 to 14 days, and the 4th larvae stage lasts between 28 and 34 days, depending on the weather conditions. But as the weather conditions vary annually, it is really difficult to calculate the moment of each larval phase. Thus the treatments are repeated periodically, generation after generation, in an attempt to control the population density.

 

But is it necessary for the farmer to assume this level of risks and costs? The risk is not such if the monitoring is carried out constantly and automatically, checking weather conditions, and the treatments are carried out at their most efficient moment. Since the 1950s, American entomologists have emphasized the importance of pest control based on knowledge of the development of the pests. Some North American universities began to facilitate the use of phenological calculators that allow to be more efficient in monitoring and treatment, but limited to their local area and some pests. Today there is the right technology to worldwide automatically control if weather conditions increase or reduce the risk of a pest infestation. FuturCrop is a software that automatically performs this function for 179 pests: In addition, not only sends notices of the development status of the pest, but also predicts its next biological development. When you discover a pest in your crops, it may be too late to do anything other than to spray pesticides. But, often another stage in the life cycle of the pest is susceptible to carry on other preventive measures. An appropriate use of this type of tools can minimize the risk and reduce costs up to 50% in case of need to perform the treatments.

 

Rationalizing treatments is essential for carry on a proper control of the crop pests and diseases. FAO (Organization of the United Nations for Food and Agriculture) proposed may years ago an Integrated Pest Management strategy with the intention of reducing the use of insecticides from 50 to 70%. and the costs for pest control from 25 to 50%. Not only was it intended to reduce costs, but also to reduce environmental pollution, the development of resistances in pests to insecticides, to avoid the regrowth of other secondary pests, and to conserve the beneficial fauna.

 

 

Nowadays we are beginning to see some unpredicted effects of certain practices of conventional agriculture. damage on bees population, agricultural soil degradation, toxic concentration in waters. It is necessary to look for alternative methods that allow agriculture to be productive and sustainable in the future.

 

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Effective control of the red spider mite

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Optimized treatment of aphids using FuturCrop

Optimized treatment of aphids using FuturCrop

Futurcrop - 04-07-2017

Aphids are one of the most common pests that afect crops, with the greatest economic impact, and which act most quickly. The 4,000 identified specied of aphids  cause direct damage to the aerial parts of the plant, but they can also be vectors of phytopathogenic viruses. They attack garden, orchard and cereals. Some 500 species of aphids are harmful to crops and gardens. And more than 200 species are capable of transmitting viruses.

 

FuturCrop is a software that controls the development conditions for the following species: Aphis fabae, Aphis gossypii, Myzus persicae, Macrosiphum avenae, Rhopalosiphum maidis, Diuraphis noxia.

 

FuturCrop is decisive for the early detection of the pest, and its effective treatment. As diagnosing the problem early can help minimize the consequences, the software automatically sends infestation risk alarms.

 

Aphids feed on the sap of plants, which have a lot of sugar and few proteins. Therefore, aphids must consume a lot of sap to satisfy their protein needs. The excess of sugar makes them excrete large quantities of a kind of molasses that  attracts ants, which protect, transport and care for aphids.

 

The survival strategies that aphids have developed make its control difficult:

  • During autumn females and winged males mate and lay eggs that hibernate until the following spring. From these eggs females are born that reproduce by parthenogenesis (basically, clones of adults). A female can carry inside its body young clones in development, and these can develop other aphids inside inside them.
  • Aphids do not require to pass mild winters as eggs. So there can be adults and nymphs throughout the year.
  • Aphids can alternate several generations of asexual reproduction. For example, if the conditions are not favorable for the colony (ie. the plant has died or the environmental conditions are no longer adequate) the new adults are winged females that can give birth by parthenogenesis. They are in fact new founder females that colonize other plants.
  • On average, a female produces between 50 and 100 eggs per cycle, and the new specimens only need about a week to mature and start its reproduction.
  • In some species, each female aphid can develop up to 40 generations during a single season.

 

The most frequent treatment of aphids use pesticides. The use of pesticides has increased considerably over the last 35 years, reaching growth rates of 4 to 5.4 % in some regions. In the 90´s there was a decrease in the use of insecticides. In the future it is foreseeable that their use will be gradually restricted by laws and taxes.

 

Generally speaking, predicting the attack of pests is the most efficient way to combat them, while reducing the use of pesticides and costs. Attention should be paid to and monitor the presence of this pest, especially in dry years with mild temperatures. The rain detach them from the plants, diminishing their damage; while temperatures above 30ºC prevent its multiplication. But climate change and the increasing of temperatures complicates what until now was its usual biological cycle. The ideal solution consists in a software of automatic control of the conditions of pests development, a system of email warnings on this information and a system predicts  its biological cycle with 10 days of advance, that allows to plan and treatt before the population reaches severe levels of infestation. Using FuturCrop it is possible to use the appropriate product for the phase in which the aphid is (eggs or adults) and easily to identify the species that affects the crops, so that it is easier to choose the active material to use (which depends on the aphid, since it has been reported different resistance to the pesticides).

 

In addition to pesticide treatments, there are other pest control methods. In fact, aphids have numerous natural enemies, among which we find predators, parasitoids and fungi, which put a strong pressure to keep aphids populations below damage thresholds. The coccinellids (ladybugs), lacewings and wasps are their natural enemies. But treatments by systemic pesticides eliminate the natural predators. With FuturCrop it is possible to know the exact moment of the biological development of the pest, which facilitates that the release of the organisms of biological control occurs at the moment of greater effectiveness

 

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Effective control of the red spider mite

Effective control of the red spider mite

Futurcrop - 23-02-2017

The red spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, is an acari that can affect almost any plant. It feeds on tissue and sap. And, as many producers know, it is capable of ending a crop in a very short time, for several reasons:

  • It has a short life cycle, with 5 states
  • High reproductive rate.
  • The normal proportion of females and males in a standard population is 3: 1.
  • Reproduction is usually sexual, but parthenogenetic reproduction can also occur.
  • It is a mite is very polyphagous, which has a high detoxification capacity and also a high adaptation.

FuturCrop is a software with which you can receive notices of risk infestation and biological development of the red spider mite and other 179 pests that affects to crops.

  • It will notify you of the moment in which it is convenient to carry out monitoring, because the program has calculated that the probability of development of the pest is high.
  • The software will help you to make the application of the treatment knowing the state of development of the population of the red spider mite. In this way you can make the choice of the most appropriate product: ovicides, larvicides, adulticides.
  • With FuturCrop you can plan the application at the moment of greater proportion of sensitive forms to the treatment.
  • The most used method for its control is the use of agrochemicals. However, its excessive and indiscriminate use has caused current populations with resistance to more than 92 acaricide-active substances. For this reason, treatments with acaricides should always be done when living forms are observed, and not in a preventive way or by observing only symptoms.

Finally, we always make 3 recommendations for the control of any pest:

  • Always use the recommended doses, to avoid the appearance of resistances or loss of effectiveness of the treatment.
  • In successive applications, alternate substances with different modes of action.
  • Respect parasites and natural predators.

 

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Optimized treatment of aphids using FuturCrop

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Red spider mite efficient control

Red spider mite efficient control

Futurcrop - 23-02-2017

The red spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, can affect almost any plant. It feeds on tissue and sap. And, as many producers know, it is capable of ending a crop in a very short time, for several reasons:

  • It has a short life cycle, with 5 biological stages.
  • It has a high reproductive rate. The normal proportion of females and males in a standard population is 3: 1.
  • Reproduction is usually sexual, but parthenogenetic reproduction can also occur.

The most used method for its control is the use of agrochemicals. However, its excessive and indiscriminate use has caused its resistance to more than 92 acaricide-active substances. For this reason, treatments with acaricides should always be done when living forms are observed, and not in a preventive way or by observing only symptoms.

FuturCrop is a software with which you can receive notices of risk and biological development of the red spider mite. It will notify you the moment in which it is convenient to carry out monitoring, because the program has calculated when the probability of development of the pest is high. The software will help you to make the application of the treatment knowing the state of development of the mite. In this way you can make the choice of the most appropriate product: ovicides, larvicides, adulticides. With FuturCrop you can plan the application at the moment of expected greater proportion of sensitive forms of the pest.

Finally, we always make 3 recommendations for the control of any pest:

  • Always use the recommended doses, to avoid the appearance of resistances or loss of effectiveness of the treatment.
  • In successive applications, alternate substances with different modes of action.
  • Respect parasites and natural predators.

Related Posts

The 10 most common errors in pest control

Insects Biological Cycle for pest control

When a pest reduces the rentability of maize production

Identification of lepidopteran larvae of agricultural importance

Agricultural pest control in their larval stages

Optimized treatment of aphids using FuturCrop

Read more
The dynamics of the thrips population

The dynamics of the thrips population

Futurcrop - 04-01-2017

The dynamics of the thrips population can become uncontrollable, depending on factors such as temperature, reproductive capacity, variable number of generations, etc. A high percentage of treatments are carried out late, when the situation already has a difficult solution. To carry out an effective control it is necessary to have the ability to predict the moments of development of the pests. Because that way monitoring and treatments are efficient.



FuturCrop is a new software that does is worldwide. Try it free for 2 months and let the program control automatically the development of the pests that can damage your crops. You´ll receive warnings in your email. With effective treatments you will save costs.

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Climate Change and Pest Control

Climate Change and Pest Control

Futurcrop - 11-11-2016

Increasing temperatures and high concentrations of carbon dioxide associated with climate change will have a substantial impact on the interactions between plants and pests, on integrated pest management (IPM) programs and on movements of pest species. A substantial increase in outbreaks of pests is expected, due to their rapid development in response to rising temperatures. Climate-induced changes present challenges for sustainable agricultural programs based on integrated pest management (IPM).

 

If world food production has to keep up with the growth of demand, we need new ways to produce, an adaptation of the programs in the IPM to the new challenges and the improvement of response times to new outbreaks of pests.

 

Rising of  temperatures

 

Temperatures in most regions of the world are increasing, and there are already indications that pests and plants are responding to this change. These temperatures are not only the result of the hottest summer days, but also to a total  less cold days and less frost in the northern areas. This can favor the development of fungi and pests in new areas, altering the interaction of the triangle of the disease (host - pathogen - environment), and therefore major problems in pest control and a general reductions in crop production.

 

Following these changes there are some challenges that must be planned:

  • The expansion of pests. As, in general, pests are moving to the north.
  • The appearance of pests in places very distant from those of origin.
  • Changes in the ecosystems that will allow some pests to reach new and dramatic levels of population, while other species will be extinct.

Crop pest expansion

In the northern hemisphere migration of pest populations from southern countries is already being detected. One of the reasons for such expansions is a change in frost patterns. As temperatures increase, the frequency of frosts decreases , resulting in an increase in the duration and intensity of pests.

The increase in temperatures will allow agricultural producers to anticipate the planting of their crops. And these anticipated crops would be available for pests that infest them, allowing pest populations to grow even more quickly by adding additional generations. This means that many pests will suffer significant population increases at the end of the corresponding season.

New pests due to the alteration of ecosystems

Warmer temperatures will benefit some species of pests over others. Some insects that could act as predators or parasites could disapear, leading to an increase in crops damage, that would probably result in an increase in the pesticide applications.

Integrated Pest Management and Climate Change

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the most widely used strategy for pest control. This approach generally integrates biological controls (predators, parasites and pathogens), chemical controls (pesticides) and cultural controls (such as resistant crop varieties and sowing times), to reduce pests below the population threshold that will cause economic losses . Most researchers and producers try to design IPM programs that maximize economic returns and sustainability, while minimizing potential environmental impacts. However, because the development of the insect is faster at higher temperatures, populations develop more rapidly and, therefore, damage to crops occurs earlier than expected, forcing the adaptation of insect-based treatment thresholds

IPM programs that are based on phenological models that correlate temperature and pests biological development, FuturCrop is an IT that do this, can be the solution to anticipate the events of pests and to respond to these pattern changes, originated by climate change. There are Reports detailing that the temperature increases that have occurred nowadays can greatly reduce the effectiveness of parasites / pest predators. For example, the differences between the thermal tolerances of the host and its parasitoids can lead to temporary or geographic separation between them. This could happen, for example, with the fly Drosophila Simulans, which is a suitable host for the wasp Leptopilina heterotoma at temperatures between 18 ° C and 22 ° C, but becomes a poor host at 26 ° C.

It must also be borne in mind that the increase in temperatures will favor pests with short reproductive cycles and multiple annual generations. Due to their rate of development at higher temperatures, these species could add even more generations and thus potentially reach a much larger population at the end of the season. The maximum effect can be expected in those regions where rising temperatures completely eliminate frost, allowing this type of plague to reproduce throughout the year. This will allow a variety of new tropical and subtropical pests that will expand in  area such as Europe The effects of these changes on the diversity of natural and agricultural ecosystems are likely to be profound.

In this context, the management actions for the control of pests and diseases that we detail below, acquire a relevant importance.

  • Constant crops monitoring, for early detecting the presence of pests and incidence of disease. Or automated control of the conditions that favours the development of pest and diseases. This is FuturCrop strategy.
  • Identify the life cycles of pests and diseases, to carry out phytosanitary applications, with the aim of breaking these life cycles. Also FuturCrop show the specific dates for pests biologica development.
  • Perform integrated pest management practices that allows the conservation or maintenance of beneficial insect populations.
  • Carry out drainage channels, and control weeds to avoid an increase in the relative humidity of the crop.
  • Crops agrobiodiversity allows beneficial insects or fungi to occur that reduce the pest population
  • Manage an adequate sowing density, which favors microclimate conditions in the crop
  • Do limit the entry or dispersion of new pests to crop, through barriers

 

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FuturCrop improves the monitoring of pests and the effectiveness of treatments

FuturCrop improves the monitoring of pests and the effectiveness of treatments

Futurcrop - 02-11-2016

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that global agricultural production loses approximately 40% due to pests and diseases. The economic value of these losses was in 2016 approximately USD 40,000,000,000. Controlling these losses can not depend exclusively on the application of chemical insecticides, whose agricultural expenditure amounted to USD 59,000,000 in the same year. The agriculture of the future will be conditioned by sustainability, producing more and better, without increasing the resources of land and water and, above all, minimizing its environmental impact, obtaining food with a minimum of chemical residues in food.

 

Agriculture needs new technological developments that facilitate decision-making in the consumption of agricultural inputs. Currently, the needs of water or fertilizers are being controlled by sensors. But there were no new technologies that would provide adequate information to optimize an Integrated Pest Management.

 

FuturCrop is a software that has been developed to optimize sampling times and reduce the necessary treatments (both phytosanitary and biological) to the necessary and efficient.

 

Farmers need to visit the field to check and control the condition of the crops and carry out sampling. FuturCrop informs about the appropriate moments to carry out samplings in the crops, because it sends alerts of the change in the biological development of the pests. In this way the moment of appearance is controlled, or if its biological cycle is accelerated.

 

It is important to have a prior knowledge of what is necessary to monitor, since the pests have different habits according to their development phase, they differ in their distribution in the crop, as well as the places where they are found.

Read more
Technology in the management of agricultural, forestry and ornamental pests

Technology in the management of agricultural, forestry and ornamental pests

Admin Futurcrop - 10-10-2016

Since the 70s of the last century there has been an emphasis on the need for rational use of phytosanitary products by producers and the eradication of repeated treatments by calendar. The appearance of computer science in the 80s allowed the development of the first phenological models applied to the management of pests. At present, with the development of new technologies applied to the agrarian world, applications are being developed that model the phenological development of crops, pests and potential. These advances provide a new source of information in agricultural pest management decision making.

 

Futurcrop has been born with the intention of putting at the service of the agricultural producer, located in any part of the world, automatically and without installation of  climatological stations nor sensors, the phenological models of development of 173 pests that cause economic damage to crops. Based on the location of the crops, it assigns a reference climate station and provides forecasts of the biological evolution of pests 10 days in advance. The calculations made indicate the evolution of the life cycles of the selected species, allowing producers and technicians to guide the sampling according to the pests development, while generating information on the moments of risk, in order to establish the  appropriate phytosanitary meassures at the right moment.

 

The system also records catches, levels of damage and phytosanitary treatments carried out, being able in turn to consult the historical records of evolution and treatments, as well as the generation of a sustainable management report.

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