Wheat bulb fly alert

3 January 1997

Wheat bulb fly alert

SPRING barley growers should be prepared to drill early and spray crops to avoid wheat bulb fly damage this season.

Egg counts are the highest for 10 years, reports Bob Mills, Banks Agricultures technical manager for crop protection. But no seed protection is available for spring barley. "Drill as soon as conditions allow," says Mr Mills.

That will provide a spray target – with later-drilled crops, damage can occur to shoots before they emerge, he notes. In high risk areas after roots, growers should consider a preventative organophosphorus spray (eg Dursban, Blex) when the crop has emerged. In more borderline areas, action should be taken when the first deadheart symptoms are seen.

Growers need to be vigilant, he warns. "Spring barley is particularly vulnerable. Unlike winter wheat, it has no tillers at the time of attack, so there is nothing to play with."

Drilling can be delayed until the danger period has passed, but that could be as late as mid-March in some seasons, Mr Mills adds.

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