Using maize to protect maize against fall armyworm

Developments by Certis Europe to control fall armyworm using a natural substance derived from maize

The Fall Army Worm or FAW (Spodoptera frugiperda), a native of tropical regions, feeds on the leaves and stems of a wide variety of plant species. It causes major damage to important crops like maize, rice, sorghum, sugar cane, soya, other vegetables and cotton, resulting in a severely detrimental effect on yields. Since its arrival in Africa in 2016 from the Americas, FAW has come to present a major threat to food security globally.Its rapid expansion across the globe has required the development of effective, sustainable control solutions, all the more important in the light of recent fears of the formation of one intercontinental ‘super-population’ of FAW, which increases the chance that pesticide resistance could spread quickly.2

Using maize to protect maize

Certis Europe has long been committed to the development of sustainable solutions for farmers and growers in Europe and beyond. Its product, Eradicoat T has successfully been developed and evaluated for use against FAW in several African and Asian countries. Based on the natural substance maltodextrin, a starch derived from maize, Eradicoat T uses maize to protect maize. It is formulated with natural, plant-derived oils and water in a water-soluble concentrate formulation and, with a broad spectrum of activity, it is effective against a range of pests including Army Worms, Spider mites, Whiteflies, Thrips, Aphids and Mealy bugs on various crops (maize, cotton, vegetables and fruits).

Removing the risk of resistance development

The development of resistance is already proving to be a major issue in FAW control and poses a serious threat to maize production and food security. Eradicoat T offers an invaluable solution in terms of resistance management: its 100% physical mode of action (MoA) completely removes the risk of target pests developing resistance. The natural and non-GMO ingredients used to formulate Eradicoat T ensure that the product has a number of other intrinsic advantages: no residues in the plant, no phytotoxicity, no pre-harvest interval and, with no toxic effect, is safe for end users and consumers.

As a physical-acting insecticide, it coats and dries on the target pest, thus blocking the spiracles and leading to quick knock-down and death by suffocation. Using a second MoA it also immobilises its targets, causing death from starvation and exhaustion. With this double MoA, while being “soft” on plants and gentle to auxiliary fauna, Eradicoat T is the ideal ‘high-tech’ solution to be used alone or integrated as a partner with other biological and chemical controls in Integrated Pest Management programs.

Development work

In the African region, trials were conducted in Ghana and Ethiopia in a collaboration between ADVANCE (USAID), Positive Agro Solutions and the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) on demo fields and model farms from 2017-2020 and results submitted to CABI by the CSIR – Savanna Agricultural Research Institute. The product has now been registered in both countries and is being distributed locally to growers. Our latest development and results indicate that protecting maize with Eradicoat T, significantly reduces FAW damage and increases yields of maize by more than 100% over the untreated control, with a commensurate growth in income.

Eradicoat T is at the leading-edge of developments in sustainable technology, proven to be very effective in controlling both the first and second instar stages of Spodoptera frugiperda larvae, while ensuring high dry gain yield and quality of produced maize.

In other countries trials and registration are ongoing and it is anticipated that Eradicoat T will be approved swiftly to enable farmers to protect their maize crops and their livelihoods.

Sustainable and effective – Eradicoat T

Eradicoat T is proving to have great efficacy against FAW as a safe and environmentally friendly biorational product. It is a valuable tool in resistance management for growers offering proven efficacy on a broad spectrum of crops and competing effectively with conventional chemicals. With minimum impact on beneficials, gentle effect on natural processes and no residues, it has zero days harvest interval and zero days re-entry period, giving the product very strong advantages. Quick knock down, quick kill and no risk of resistance development complete Eradicoat T’s credentials as the perfect partner for use alone or in an IPM program.

The FAO describes Fall armyworm as “one of the most dangerous plant pests in the world, feeding on more than 80 crops, and affecting plant health in more than 70 countries with many others at high risk of introduction”. The FAO and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) have developed new ‘Prevention, preparedness and early response guidelines’ to limit fall armyworm’s spread worldwide.


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