28 August 1998

Wheat blossom midge strikes

WHEAT blossom midge has struck again – damaging up to 11% of grains where bad weather prevented insecticide control in early June.

The return to higher levels stems from high temperatures in May, triggering a hatch of midges that coincided with the susceptible ear emergence stage of many crops in early June, says ADAS entomologist Jon Oakley.

At ADAS Bridgets near Winchester, Hants, unsprayed plots suffered 11% grain damage, the highest level seen since the 1993 outbreak. That mirrors on-farm experience from Staffs to Lincs to Essex to Wilts, says Mr Oakley. Insecticide sprays reduced grain damage to 4%.

"On affected farms numbers of larvae returning to the soil will be high and extra vigilance will be needed next year," notes Mr Oakley. &#42