Saad, A., Yahaya, H., Muhammad, H., Azmi, M., Wan Zaki, W.M., Manim, A., Badrulhadza, A., Siti Norsuha, M., Maisarah, M.S., Noridiana, M.Y., Muhammad Naim Fadzli, A.R. and Sivapragasam, A.
Rice and Industrial Crops Research Center, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, Seberang Perai, Kepala Batas, Pulau Pinang
Rice in Malaysia is grown by both smallholders and large holdings. The Federal Land Rehabilitation Authority (FELCRA) has been growing rice in an estate of about 4,700 ha with centralized management since 1983. Pest management in the estate has been based on routine pesticide applications and has been a major input cost. In a small plot of about 28 ha, we started using ecological engineering approaches by introducing floral biodiversity in the bunds, rationalizing insecticide use, introducing barn owls as predators of rats and disease resistant varieties. The plants we selected for the bunds were those with biopesticide properties, like neem and citronella grass. The leaves of these plants were mixed with molasses and allowed to ferment for 10 days and the extracts were then used as insecticides. As far as possible we avoided spraying any insecticides in the first 40 days after sowing.
In the experimental plot, pesticide input was reduced by 50 %, pest populations were reduced and the yield was slightly increased (Figure 1). Before the introduction of the IPM practices in the plot, pest control cost was 35.86% of the production costs in Off Season and Main Season, 2007 (Figure 3). After the introduction, pest control was only 12.85% the production costs in Off Season and Main Season, 2009 (Figure 3). Pest densities were lower, as illustrated in the Figure 1 and 2. Leaf folder infestation percentage declined from 40 % to 20 % (50 %) in Off Season and Main Season, 2007 and 2009 and the black bug infestation percentage declined from 66 % to negligible (~100 %) in the same period. The net profit of the plot after IPM introduction in 2009 was US$1005.37/ha in as compared to only US$356.10/ha before the introduction in 2007, an increase of ~ 182% as pest control cost declined from about 40% of total production cost in 2007 to just 13% in 2009.