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Wednesday October 30, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday October 30, 2013 MYT 8:09:06 AM
by christina tan
The aircraft: The crop dusting airplane Ag Cat arriving in Kampung Sawah Padi.
YONG PENG: A crop dusting airplane has begun two weeks of aerial spraying at an oil palm plantation here to cull bagworms.
Accompanied by a helicopter, the aircraft by Systematic Aviation Services and its Australian pilot arrived in Kampung Sawah Padi at about 3pm on Monday.
Malaysia Palm Oil Board (MPOB) research officer Mohd Hafiz Mohd Nazir said the aircraft would carry 1,000 litres of ecobac-1 containing Bacillus Thuringiensis, a beneficial biological bacteria, and water on each trip.
“The whole project will cover 9,000ha and the aircraft could fly up to 25 trips each day and cover 33hectares of plantation per trip.
“We are hoping for good weather so the spraying work can proceed smoothly,” he said.
Some 9,000ha oil palm plantation in Jalan Labis, Kampung Temehel, Kampung Sungai Belian near Yong Peng were reported to have cases of bagworm infestation for the past few months.
Bagworm or genus metisa plana are leaf-eating insects that build a silk nest embedded with pieces of dried leaf. It causes damage to crops by defoliating their leaves.
The pest could multiply extremely fast during the dry season and a single adult worm could produce up to 300 larvaes.
The issue had raised concerns over damage to crops in the affected areas and caused oil palm production to drop by about 40%.
Uncontrolled use of chemical pesticides and poor knowledge of pest control is said to have contributed to the problem.
Ling Tian Soon, who represented Ayer Hitam MP Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong at the site, said the cost of the aerial spraying work is about RM117 per hectare or over RM1mil.
It would be borne by MPOB, while the building of an airstrip and clearing works estimated to cost RM200,000 would be managed by Dr Wee and the Johor government.
He said the air spraying of chemicals to control the pest conducted last year had been successful but it returned.
Some 2,000 plantation smallholders are hit by the outbreak.
Ling urged smallholders to give their full cooperation to the operation.
Tags / Keywords:
Environment, Southern & Eastern Region, oil palm
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