New Straits Times (29/07/2020) KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has developed the world's first automated detection system to track bagworm species "metisa plana", which is a leaf-eating insect that attacks oil palm.
MPOB said a moderate infestation of the bagworm would result in about 43 per cent yield loss if untreated.
"MPOB's data in 2016 reveals the economic loss caused by bagworm attacks, which is around RM24 million," it said in a statement today.
MOPB said it was an offence if the bagworms' infestation was not curbed and the plantation owner could be penalised under the Plant Quarantine Act 1976.
"The invention by MPOB's researchers, led by Mohd Najib Ahmad, called Automated Bagworm Counter or in short Oto-BaC, uses a camera and deep learning algorithms developed by the team which consist of motion-tracking and false colour analysis to detect the living and dead larvae and pupae of bagworms," it said.
The Oto-BaC is also able to calculate the number of living and dead larvae and pupae population per frond and classify them into the larval and pupal stages.
The device, the first innovation ever in the oil palm industry, provides accurate, real-time data collection and user-friendly system for detecting and counting bagworms on the palm leaflets.
It can minimise human error in the census and promote precision agriculture practice.
The MPOB said by integrating machine vision technique and image processing algorithms, the device could be effectively used by the planters to monitor bagworm population in their plantations and subsequently reducing the loss of fresh fruit bunches yield.
"The use of Oto-BaC technology can also be expanded to other insect pests in oil palm plantations. Oto-BaC is essential as it would greatly benefit growers in terms of oil palm protection," it said.
With Oto-BaC, control actions could be planned and the exact stages of larvae could be detected, reducing the cost of pesticide for the oil palm plantations.
Additionally, the device could help solve labour shortage and minimise the time spent for a census.
Oto-BaC, launched at the MPOB Transfer of Technology Seminar 2020 recently, won a Silver Medal at the Malaysia Technology Expo 2020 held in Kuala Lumpur.
"Industry players and entrepreneurs are encouraged to commercialise Oto-BaC as it can be utilised in performing bagworm census in the oil palm plantations," MPOB added.
Read more at https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/07/612494/mpob-invents-1st-automated-detection-system-bagworm