Voracious armyworm threatens China's grain output
By Ge Yunfei
The fall armyworm, a voracious pest, is now rapidly spreading across China from the South. It has been found in 920 square kilometers of farmland across almost half of the country, which may severely threaten China's corn output in the next year if the situation continues to get worse.
In a rural village near Guangzhou, the capital city of China's southern Guangdong Province, farmers have been badly hit by the armyworm.
"Eighty to 90 percent of the crops here have been infected, so the situation here is dire," said Professor Lu Yongyue from the South China Agricultural University. He added that the inch-long armyworm is so voracious that it can eat up a corn plant in several days. The corn output in this area could drop 50 percent next year without proper measures.
A corn plant ruined by the armyworm./CGTN Photo

A corn plant ruined by the armyworm./CGTN Photo

Now the greedy pest is not only endangering the 350,000 square kilometers of China's cornfields, but also threatening the country's sugar supply, as southern China is the main production area of sugarcane plants.
"If the pest continues to spread all over China, it would be a big security risk for China's food and sugar supply."
However, as the armyworm is native to America but has trekked across Asia after destroying crops in Africa in recent years, a prominent problem is that most of the current pesticides in China do not affect the armyworm.
Facing the emergency, Professor Lu is now leading a provincial pest control team trying to find ways to contain the insects. They have found an effective new pesticide formula and some other measures like setting up pest traps. They're now busy training experts and farmers across the province on how to kill this pest.
This is the first outbreak of the armyworm in China, but Lu said that after invading China, the fall armyworm would be one of the main crop pests in the future that could appear anywhere from the North to the South and cause significant damage.