The S-1029 Group – Protecting America’s Rice Crops
In keeping up with rapidly changing agronomic practices in US rice cropping, the S-1029 group has kept pace with these changes by developing and implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs tailored to specific challenges growers face — such as identifying genetic varieties that are susceptible to specific pests. Traditional methods of using pesticides to control rice pests can limit their predators and lead to mosquito outbreaks, which then create efficient vectors for diseases that threaten the health of humans, lifestock and wildlife while at the same time reducing property values, causing labor problems, and hindering the tourism industry.
Insect pests can cause up to 50% yield and quality losses, posing a significant threat to the rice crops in the U.S. – one of the worlds’ largest exporters of rice (in 2005, 3.3 million acres were planted and 40% of the crop was exported).
When faced with the risk of lower rice yields, greater costs of production, environmental damage, and public health threats, it was deemed necessary to face the challenges of pest control without ecological damage – and S-1029 was up to that challenge.
Between 2006 and 2011, the group released rice varieties with higher pest tolerance and resistance, giving farmers alternatives to pesticides for ensuring good crop yield, ensuring good rice harvests that promote economic stability as well as ensuring domestic and international food security.
Though the dangers of mosquitoes in rice crops have been averted for now, research that continues to track the distribution of existing and emerging pests is needed, as well as continued testing of new treatments and techniques – the keys to effective, long-term resistance management and the protection of public’s health.
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