|Integrated Pest Control|
The company materialized its commitment on environment by implementing an environmental-friendly integrated pest control policy. The early warning system is implemented to monitor an organism composition balance in the plantation ecosystem so that any condition which likely affects crop yields can be anticipated effectively and in rational costs. The early warning system avoids the occurrence of crop pest and disease explosion which can affect yields and costs significantly.
Keeping a composition balance between crop pest organisms and their natural enemies is a key in the integrated pest control. Natural enemies maybe available in nature or specially brought in to create an ecosystem balance. The Company makes exploration in seeking to find the appropriate natural enemies for controlling local crop pest organisms. In the integrated pest control, pesticide application is the last option, where the allowable types and dosages are strictly regulated and subject to government regulations. [G4-EN12,EN27]
EARLY WARNING SYSTEM
The Early Warning System is a set of monitoring activities of crop pest organism conditions periodically (monthly) to know conditions of existing pests and natural enemies in the field. Information on conditions of these pests and natural enemies is very important to evaluate the security of oil palm crop from the infestation of crop pest organisms. A balance between natural enemies and crop pest organisms is a key for creating a safe condition and economically not making damages to the Company. The early warning system is also a key for controlling pesticide applications in the oil palm plantation and all at once minimizing impacts of their applications on the environment.
USE OF BIOLOGICAL AGENTS FOR PEST CONTROL
The use of biological agents in seeking to control crop pest organisms is continuously developed by the Company. This method is to utilize natural enemies such as predators, pathogens, parasitoids, and antagonistic agents that can be adjusted their presence so that the populations of crop pest organisms are in an ecological balance and do not cause any crop damage.
Predators & Parasitoids as Biological Agents
The Company preserves owls (Tyto alba) as environment-friendly biological agents to control rodent pests. As natural enemies, owls can propagate and work by themselves with higher ability to control rats than other species of natural enemies. By end of 2015, the population of Tyto alba broodstock reached 11,490.
The Company is developing various species of flowering crops as alternative host crops and all at once sources of food for parasitoid insects and natural crop pest organisms as enemies. Various species of the crops as planted along the periphery or corners of blocks, namely Turnera subulata, Turnera ulmifolia, Euphorbia heterophylla, Cassia tora, Antigonon leptopus, play a vital role in causing the abundance of population of insects as biological agents so that the infestation of crop pest organisms can be suppressed. The Turnera subulata/Turnera ulmifolia crop composition along the periphery of blocks is more dominant as alternative host crops for parasitoid insects.
Cratoxylum sp. crop functions to attract insects Sicanus dichotomous as natural enemies of leaf-eating caterpillars. The presence of predator insects Sicanus dichotomous, Eucanthecona sp., and Cosmolestes picticeps as well as parasitoid insects such as Apanteles sp., Pediobius sp., Spinaria spinator, Trichogramma, Chaetexorista javana, continuously monitored through an early detecting system as a reference in the integrated pest control.
The Company also uses pathogens to control crop pest organisms. Microorganisms such as MNPV (Mono nuclear polyhedral virus) are used to infect and cause diseases on nettle caterpillar pests Thosea asigna and Setora nitens.
Exploration of Potential Natural Biological Agents The Company explored the presence of biological agents to control crop pest organisms. Natural biological agents in the oil palm plantation are more suitable for local species of crop pest organisms as a part of ecosystem and can function to maintain the ecosystem balance. In 2015, some fungi species have been successfully explored and developed to be as biological agents. The fungi have been identified, isolated, and reproduced to suppress the larvae presence of pest Oryctes rhinoceros and nettle caterpillar pests Ploneta diducta and Darna trima.
POLICY IN CHEMICAL APPLICATION
The Company has selected an option on the integrated pest control. As a consequence of this option, the Company must maintain the ecosystem balance in the oil palm plantation. In implementing the integrated pest control, the chemical application is even risky by endangering important biological
agents which are preserved as natural enemies of crop pest organisms and, therefore, it can only undertaken selectively based upon ecosystem analysis toward results of observations on crop pest organisms and by considering its economic threshold. Pesticides applied are only the most effective types and permitted by the government.
INNOVATION, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
In the integrated pest control relying on an early warning system, observers of crop pest organisms are the forefront. The competence and productivity of crop pest organism observers highly affect the effectiveness and efficiency in controlling crop pest organisms. The Company holds training of crop pest organism observers every year to update their knowledge and enhance their competence and productivity.
The crop pest organism observers also have opportunities to perform creative ideas in InnovAstra held every year as a part of ASTRA culture in continuous improvements.
In 2015, a successful innovation in crop pest organism control was the use of fungi as biological agents on rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros) larvae and the control of bagworm pest physically by using traps.