GM cotton, soy and maize are among the crops being eaten by caterpillars.
In March this year GMWatch reported that Brazilian farmers were facing huge losses as GM Bt cotton and other crops were eaten by a plague of caterpillar pests called Helicoverpa, or corn ear worm. Damage was forecast at 2 billion Brazilian Real.
In fact the losses to farmers turned out to be five times as high, reaching 10 billion Brazilian Real so far, according to an article for AgroLink, below. It's clear that the problem isn't solved yet, so losses could escalate even higher.
Brazilian crops that have fallen victim to the pest include cotton, soybean, corn, sorghum, beans and tomato, with the first three crops dominated by GM varieties.
http://bit.ly/17PIJfD (Google translation from Portuguese)
Back in March 2013, cotton consultant Celito Breda said that the plague was due to a number of factors. He named one as the expansion of the cultivation of transgenic maize resistant to caterpillars, whose toxin eliminates 100% of the species Spodoptera (armyworms) but only 10% of Helicoverpa. Breda said that earlier in the plantings of non-GM corn, the caterpillar Spodoptera, which is a cannibal, contributed to the control of Helicoverpa. Without natural enemies, the population of Helicoverpa or corn earworm multiplied.
Brazil has lost 10 billion Real to Helicoverpa armigera
Agrolink, 18 July 2013
Rough translation from the Portuguese by GMWatch
Brazilian agriculture has now lost a total of 10 billion Brazilian Real, just last season, to Helicoverpa armigera. The information was released on Thursday by the Director of Health Protection of the State Agency of Agricultural Protection of Bahia (Adab), Armando Sá Nascimento.
He was one of the speakers at the 1st Seminar Helicoverpa armigera, conducted by the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation of the State of Goiás (Seagro). Farmers, agronomists, students, biologists and representatives of public and private institutions gathered at the seminar in the auditorium of Seagro.
The purpose of the meeting was to make widely known the main crops affected and the proposed control. Ordinance No. 042 declared a phytosanitary emergency to cotton and soybean crops, as evidenced by the researcher Rossana Silva Serrato, who focused on the issue in Goiás. A working group was formed, through Ordinance 041, in an attempt to sketch out an emergency plan to assist in reversing the impact of the plague.
The meeting's moderator was state secretary Anthony Camilo Flávio Lima (Agriculture), who participated in a round table on the theme. A professor at the Federal University of Goiás (UFG) and entomologist, Cecilia Czepack, opened the series of lectures. She recounted the history of the appearance of the caterpillar in Brazil, and spoke of its probable origin in the Mediterranean region and its possible route of entry into Brazil, which may have been via Argentina or Africa, according to experts. Methods of attacking Helicoverpa, its reproductive cycle, identification, and the ongoing research to control the pest in Goiás were highlighted in the researcher's speech.