OWBM down but not out

HIGH LEVELS of orange wheat blossom midge larvae in the soil mean the pest could threaten wheat crops next season, growers have been warned.

It is therefore important that growers consider planting resistant varieties this autumn, advised ADAS senior entomologist, Jon Oakley.

“Larvae can last in the soil for 4-5 years. Not many hatched this season, so even if you didn’t see a problem this year, you could do next.”

Growers considering resistant varieties need to ensure that they are suitable for their farm, he stressed.

This autumn they will have the choice from varieties such as Welford, Brompton, Robigus and Glasgow – plus Kipling and Gatsby, which are in Recommended List trials this year, he said.

David Feuerhelm from Elsoms Seeds agreed on the importance of considering variety resistance.

“If May 2006 is only slightly warmer and wetter than this year then the conditions will favour another very serious outbreak similar to that experienced in 2004.”

A bad midge attack could potentially cause 20-25% yield loss and by using resistant varieties, growers could help cut the reliance on insecticides such as chlopyrifos, he noted.

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