Pest Alert - April 13, 2016
I was checking some winter rye, wheat and barley for insects and disease today. In particular, I was looking for aster leafhopper and wheat leaf rust and wheat stripe rust.
No rusts were observed but I did not spend much time at it due to an insect distraction.
This was one of the first warm days for quite a while with winds low enough to do a good job of sweeping. The aster leafhoppers were present but in low numbers with adult present at 1/10 sweeps or less in winter rye.
However, English grain aphid populations were abundant for this time of year with winged adults and nymphs both present.
Both of these insects are spring migrants and can transmit plant diseases, aster yellows in the case of the aster leafhopper and barley yellow dwarf virus in the case of English grain. I do not know if the insects I observed at the U of M SWROC in SW MInnesota are carrying these diseases or not.
Fore those of you growing wheat, barley or oats, it might be worth your while to scout for aphids this year. I would appreciate hearing if you are seeing similar aphid populations.