Wheat crops are at slightly higher risk from Orange Wheat Blossom Midge (OWBM) this year, compared to 2005, according to Dow AgroSciences.

Provisional results from the firm’s PestWatch service, which has expanded the number of sites sampled this year, found populations greater than 10 midge/kg soil at 21% of sites, compared to 15% in 2005. Half these sites showed populations greater than 20/kg.

“The highest populations have been recorded in the Midlands, Hampshire and North Yorkshire,” said Dow’s technical specialist, David Roberts.

“If conditions continue to favour pupation and adult emergence, these areas are at risk of potentially damaging populations of Orange Wheat Blossom midge.”

Twenty-eight sites have been sampled by Dow AgroSciences and ADAS, with a mean OWBM population of 6.3/kg soil, compared to 6.1, 18.1 and 7.9/kg soil in 2005, 2004 and 2003 respectively.

No pupation has yet been recorded at any site and while soils remain dry, development into the pupal stages will be restricted, the firm said. Click here for more information on the PestWatch service.