In agriculture, pests are organisms that damage crops by their feeding or burrowing activities and diseases involve microorganisms like fungi, bacteria and virus. It damages the crops by disrupting the plant’s physiology, metabolism or direct cellular and tissue damage and the crop ability to optimise production.
The major pests of oil palm in Malaysia are rats, bagworms, nettle caterpillars, rhinoceros beetle, bunch moth and termite whilst the most important disease is Ganoderma basal stem rot and, to a lesser extent, Marasmius bunch rot.
Insecticides will remain the main weapon against insect pests, but integrated control involving regular monitoring, good agronomic practices, conservation, supplementation and utilisation of natural control agent, and the judicious use of chemicals, will become increasingly more important. Chemicals with broad-spectrum of activity, long and persistent residues, and high mammalian toxicity will continue to be replaced by safer and more target specific products that are also safer to the environment.
Integrated Pests Management (IPM) in SALCRA
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the use of holistic and compatible methods of pest and disease control to reduce economic injury to the crop. IPM removes the overdependence on pesticides, making the process more sustainable.
SALCRA chooses the discipline of Integrated Pests Management in controlling the pests and disease outbreak through:
- Planting of beneficial plants such as Cassia cobanensis, Turnera subulata and Antigonon leptopus to provide shelter and supplementary food such as nectar and encouraging the population of predators and parasites.
- Biological control such as pheromone trap also being use beside than the Rhinoceros Beetle breeding site being sprayed with Metarhizium Anisopliae.