SOWING RESISTANT wheat varieties this autumn will be key to reducing the threat from orange wheat blossom midge attack, growers have been told.
Present choices are limited to Group 3 and 4 wheats as there are no OWBM-resistant bread-making varieties in the UK, but breeders are working hard to develop new ones, according to the Home Grown Cereals Authority.
The 2005/06 HGCA Recommended List contains one Group 3 variety (Robigus) and three Group 4 feed types (Brompton, Glasgow and Welford) resistant to the pest, said the HGCA’s Jim McVittie.
The HGCA recommends growers regard any non-resistant varieties as susceptible, although the risk of midge attack will vary according to seasonal conditions.
“All susceptible varieties require monitoring and insecticide treatment if the treatment thresholds are met,” said Mr McVittie.
“Current advisory thresholds are one midge per six ears for a milling variety and one per three for a feed variety during growth stage 51-59”.
Several resistant varieties, including one potential Group 2, are currently in UK trials, but their commercial success hinges on trial results and acceptance by millers where appropriate, he added.
Growers can find details of the HGCA Recommended Lists and a guide to orange wheat blossom midge at www.hgca.com.