Bayer develops new hybrid corn

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — German pharmaceutical and agricultural firm Bayer has developed a hybrid corn variety that could be resistant to the fall armyworm, the latest problem of the corn industry, which has already marched its way to more provinces in the country.

Bayer has introduced the VT Double PRO Dekalb hybrids, which has a biotechnology trait that controls lepidopteran pest Bacillus thuringiensis and was originally developed to fight the highly devastating Asiatic corn borer.

“Our team in the field has observed numerous cases of fall armyworm damage in major corn growing areas all over the country.  Farmers’ yields and income have been reduced significantly due to this corn pest,” Bayer marketing head Erwin Vibal said.

“Fortunately, we are able to address this key concern with our lineup of Dekalb corn hybrids that have proven built-in resistance against fall armyworm,” he said.

Bayer said the variety has a dual mode of action for protection against fall armyworm, corn borer, corn earworm, and other above-ground pests notorious for wreaking havoc on corn crops leading to huge yield losses.

Some corn hybrids had around 13 to 17 percent damage due to fall armyworm, but the Dekalb hybrids are said to have less than three percent damage.

The Dekalb hybrid corn seeds are currently the only seed product certified by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority as plant-incorporated protectant for control of fall armyworm.

“Our Dekalb seeds provide much more convenience and assurance to our corn farmers from fall armyworm.  We also ensure that the agronomic characteristics of our hybrids are adaptable to different growing conditions leading to high yields and income,” Vibal said.

The first incident of fall armyworm was reported in June last year in Cagayan province. Now, it has spread to more areas and regions including Ilocos, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western, Central and Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao, Soccsksargen, and Caraga.

Fall armyworm was originally native to the Americas, but was reported in Africa in 2016, followed by an alarming distribution across the African continent. It was also reported in India and several Asia Pacific countries, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand and China.

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