Professor Yunita T. Winarto, Universitas Indonesia
Professor James J. Fox, The Australian National University
Bimo Dwisatrio, Merryna Nurhaga, Jibril Avessina, Nancy Kinanti, Universitas Indonesia
Since 2010, the regency of Lamongan in East Java has become an area of substantial brown planthopper infestation. This infestation has spread and taken hold in the neighbouring regencies of Bojonegoro and Tuban.
The Lamongan rice growing area consists of just over 86,500 hectare. Most of this is low lying land provided with technical irrigation from the Bengawan-Solo River. For most of this irrigated area, the normal cropping pattern consists of two crops of rice followed by a secondary crop. Some rain-fed rice is grown on higher ground. For these locations, only one rice crop is grown followed by a succession of secondary crops.
In 2010, however, because of persistent heavy rains, most farmers decided to plant three successive crops of rice in irrigated areas and two crops of rice in rain-fed areas. These decisions coincided with an outbreak of the brown planthopper as all rice varieties planted at the time – Ciherang, Cibogo, IR 64, and Way Apoburu – lost resistance to planthopper. At the same time, the government continued to encourage the planting of hybrid rice by providing free seeds for varieties such as Sembadra and Bernas, which appear to be particularly vulnerable to planthopper.
As the brown planthopper infestation has increased in severity in 2011, the regency officials have persisted in extending the hybrid rice program, targeting 25,000 hectare of farmers’ fields but without detailed information on how to plant these hybrid varieties. Farmers have turned to other rice varieties, including local ones, in the hope of finding a more resistant variety. They have been made aware of the imminent release of a new potential resistant variety, Inpari 13, but this variety was not available for the 2nd season planting.
Official statistics use a four-fold classification of brown hopper damage: 1) light damage, 2) medium damage, 3) heavy damage and 4) full crop loss. For the period of January through March – the 1st cropping season – brown planthopper damage in Lamongan was recorded as follows:
[table id=15 /]
In Lamongan, over the past two years, pesticide use has increased precipitously with many, if not most farmers, using a cocktail-combination of different products to spray their fields. One farmer who was interviewed sprayed his field 30 times, each time with a cocktail of three different products mixed with kerosene; by the end, he had used eight different pesticides but he was still only able to harvest a third of his field.
In this regency, the most popular pesticide has been a particular brand that combines the organophosphate klorpirifos with the pyrethroid cypermethrin. It is used extensively despite the fact that all organophosphate pesticides were explicitly prohibited for rice by the Presidential degree of 1986. During the 1st planting season, all village kiosks were sold out of this product but by the end of the season, farmer groups who had used it extensively were calling for it to be banned because it had proven ineffective.
At an official Workshop to assess current efforts on the ‘Management of Brown Planthopper’ held in Lamongan on the 20th of April 2011, representatives of pesticide companies were invited as partner-consultants to mount displays and promote their products to the farmers who attended. These pesticide sales representatives have also gone straight to farmers in the villages to promote their products.
In 1986, Indonesia successfully overcame a severe infestation of brown planthopper by banning most pesticides for rice. With a clear recognition that the country was facing a pesticide-induced resurgence of the brown planthopper, President Soeharto issued a decree banning pesticides and initiated the first efforts toward Integrated Pest Management.
At present, at the national level, the government is intent on achieving and securing a rice production target of 70.6 million tons by 2015. With this objective in mind, the government strongly recommends the need for farmers 1) to undertake early observation, 2) to plant resistant varieties when and if they are available, 3) to carry out synchronous planting, 4) to avoid planting rice in the third season and 5) to spray pesticides only when appropriate. As an alternative to pesticide spraying, the government is recommending the use of Beauveria bassiana as a biological control insecticide.
Despite these recommendations, heavy dependence on the use of pesticides continues in many areas of Java such as Lamongan and this reliance undermines other government efforts to control brown planthopper infestation.
Outbreaks in Karawang
Klaten- Boyolali- Sukokarjo BPH Triangle
Wereng triangle and pesticide tsunami in Indonesia
Brown planthoppers and virus diseases threatening rice in West Java
BPH and virus outbreaks in Central Java