Farmers increasingly rely upon options for biological insecticides to control pests in crops. So-called biodefensive agents reduce worker, consumer and environmental exposure to chemical waste. The Brazilian Agricultural Research Company (Embrapa) has expanded the range of products for control of armyworms (Spodoptera frugiperda), the main corn pest, which also affects other crops, such as soybeans, sorghum, cotton, and vegetables.
The first insecticide based on Baculovirus Spodoptera, CartuchoVIT, was launched in 2017, as a result of the partnership between Embrapa Milho and Sorgo (Sete Lagoas, MG) and the Vitae Rural Group. In 2018, this product was marketed in sufficient quantity to treat some 15,300 hectares. For the 2019/2020 season, the BaculoMIP-Sf bioinsecticide, made with another Baculovirus strain, will also be marketed, in partnership with Embrapa and Promip.
This year, another novelty comes to market: the bioinsecticide VirControl S.f. [Baculovirus Spodoptera frugiperda multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (SfMNPV)], developed in partnership with the company Simbiose, which was launched on April 24
during the 46th anniversary of Embrapa.
“From the collection of Baculovirus strains from Embrapa Milho and Sorgo, a variety of bioinsecticides have been developed in recent years, together with the private sector, aimed at the control of armyworms, which is capable of reducing the population by more than 50%. Each company uses its own formulation. This fact, coupled with the use of different strains, allows for the creation of more options of bioproducts for farmers,” noted the head of Research and Development at Embrapa Corn and Sorghum, Sidney Parentoni.
These bioinsecticides have the active ingredient being an effective virus for the control of armyworms. “Baculoviruses are biological control agents that do not harm the health of applicators, do not kill natural enemies of pests, do not contaminate the environment, or leave residues in the products to be sold in supermarket shelves,” noted researcher Fernando Valicente. Biosafety tests have proven that these viruses are harmless to micro-organisms, plants, vertebrates and other invertebrates that are not insects.