News 701 views last update:18 Sep 2012

Russia's corn crop faces a new threat

A Russian veterinary specialist has found the first ever corn rootworm in Russia. The pest has been identified in the Rostov region, and in the long run can destroy hundreds of thousands of acres of corn, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) warned.

Rosselkhoznadzor raised the alarm after discovering two worms on an ear of corn in Novoshakhtinsk city after setting up a special protective trap on the corn. Previously Russian farmers and veterinary specialist have never seen this insect.

“We must protect our borders and not let corn rootworm Diabrotica penetrate our country. It could seriously affect the safety of our feed supply, the cost of getting rid of this dangerous pest would be colossal, says the head of the Land Control department of Rosselkhoznadzor, Vladimir Popovic.

According to Rosselkhoznadzor, corn rootworm had already previously done significant damage to corn crops in former Yugoslavian states, and then in Hungary and Ukraine, and now the pest has been found in Russia. In an official statement the veterinary specialist stated that corn rootworm originally came to Europe from the US, where a large part of the corn is currently resistant to this pest.

Rosselkhoznadzor also points out that the danger comes from the insect larvae. It damages the roots of corn. Then an adult beetle will eat the stalk, preventing fertilisation of the plant.

“This is especially dangerous because corn production in Russia is almost entirely dependent on imported seeds, whereas in Soviet times we fully provided it for our own needs” said Popovic.

However, according to representatives of Rosselkhoznadzor, fighting corn rootworm as in the case of locusts should be done by pesticides which can threaten the quality of the final product.

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