Getting a Wheat Crop to Harvest Isn’t Easy (LAND OF LIQUID Blog)

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  • June 30, 2018

So one more post from the Palouse in SE Washington.  We have a field trial with a grower and Eric and I walked it last Wednesday.  This is soft white winter wheat and it is looking good.

 The heads are filling grain now, and grain protein is being made now too.  Yield and protein determine payment to the grower.  Outside of weather, one thing that can affect yield is insects like aphids.

 And here they are.  I believe these are Russian Wheat aphids.  (Someone will tell me if they are not.) I just happened to get this picture that is interesting.  I believe that larger brown one is what is referred to as a mummy, having been stung by a parasitic wasp that laid eggs inside.  The insect world isn’t pretty.  These aphids are sucking leaf juices and can cause the leaf to turn yellow.  And this is the flag leaf, the energy leaf of the plant.

So there is a threshold.  It is an average of 20 aphids per plant at this stage.  This according to his crop scout.  So this field wasn’t there.  (I read where other experts say as many as 50 is threshold before damage exceeds cost of control.)  But the grower was nervous about not spraying.  Then there is the cost of the product (Dimethoate) and a plane.  A good yield is on the line, but wheat prices aren’t the best.  The field was pretty slick with aphid juice.  Too bad the wasps didn’t do more.  Not sure what he ended up doing.  No one said farming is easy.  And if they did, they are wrong.

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