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Army worm outbreak brought under control

By Jin Zhu, Liu Ce  (China Daily)

09:08, August 22, 2012

A farmer checks corn affected by army worms in Beijing's Shunyi district on Tuesday. (Wang Jing/China Daily)

A recent army worm infestation in major grain producing regions in North and Northeast China is now under control and will have little effect on this year's harvest, agricultural professionals said.

The army worm, a common pest, became the most serious threat to the production of corn this summer in the country's major grain-producing regions due to unusual weather conditions.

By Friday, pest control measures had effectively covered about 3 million hectares, or 80 percent of the total corn planting areas nationwide hit by the infestation, the Ministry of Agriculture said on its website on Monday.

The affected areas include Hebei, Jilin, Liaoning, Heilongjiang provinces, as well as the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and Beijing and Tianjin, the ministry said.

"It has been unusual over the past few decades to see an army worm plague affecting so many places in North and Northeast China. The pest usually appears along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River," said Li Maosong, a researcher of disaster reduction at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

"However, frequent cyclonic activities since mid-July provided favorable conditions to the migration of the army worms, and then heavy rainfall forced them to stay in north and northeastern parts of the country," he said.

At present, the country has successfully stopped the spread of the army worm infestation in the affected areas, and there is no severe impact on corn production, the ministry said.

"Only a small number of farmers in Beijing suffered complete crop failures due to the army worm infestation, although it is the most serious case in the city since 1997," said Yang Jianguo, an official from Beijing Plant Protection Station.

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