Category Archives: grains

Helicoverpa in wheat – does it warrant control?

Helicoverpa outbreaks in wheat are relatively rare events. The last big outbreak, in 2016, was the first significant event for several decades, so treating helicoverpa in wheat is not something that many agronomists are familiar with. However, 2020 looks to be a year when helicoverpa infestations in some crops may warrant control. Wet winters are well correlated with outbreaks of… Read more »

Termites in cereal crops—a rare occurrence—but it is 2020….

Termites are common in undisturbed parts of the landscape, playing an important role in the ecosystem. It is unusual to find them in crops—but in 2020, there have been several reports of termites in winter cereals. The first reports were received during crop establishment, and more were received once the crops started to come out in head and set grain…. Read more »

Not all caterpillars in maize are fall armyworm

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Recent reports were received of decidedly non-armyworm looking caterpillars attacking corn cobs in a crop near Mundubbera. The larvae in question were pale with lines of large dark spots on their back, and looked very similar to a serious mungbean pest, beanpodborer (Maruca vitrata). However, the larvae in question were slightly larger (about 20 mm) and some had a slight… Read more »

Pests of late winter / early spring

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While drought has dashed the planned rotations of many growers, there is still a risk of pest outbreaks at this time of year. Below are some of the most common to keep an eye out for. A note on withholding periods following insecticide use in crops that are diverted to stock If insecticide treatments have been applied to crops which… Read more »

Armyworm outbreak

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Armyworm infestations of barley crops, in particular, are being reported from southern NSW to the Darling Downs. Large numbers of moths are also being seen around lights at night. It is not unexpected that armyworm would be abundant this spring as some of their source areas (Channel Country, North Western Queensland) would have received significant rainfall or flows earlier in… Read more »

Insect pest management in sorghum – a refresher

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Sorghum is most susceptible to crop loss from insect pests during flowering and grain fill, and this article deals mostly with these species (sorghum midge, helicoverpa and Rutherglen bug). However, some years there may be pest infestations in vegetative sorghum. Vegetative sorghum During the vegetative stages you may see a few armyworm or helicoverpa larvae causing shot-holes in the leaves,… Read more »

Identifying insect pests in stored grain

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Winter—time to visit your storages As temperatures drop and hopefully winter crop planting is completed, a little time invested around your storage facility will pay dividends. During our coldest months storage pests are not breeding rapidly and are less likely to fly. They are quietly sitting in grain residues in empty silos, or keeping warm in silos still holding grain…. Read more »

Whitefly in establishing grain crops

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This summer silverleaf whitefly (SLW) populations have been extremely high in many cotton crops, particularly in NSW. As these crops are defoliated, large numbers of SLW are moving out of the cotton into surrounding vegetation, including emerging grain crops. Whilst the number of SLW adults landing in seedling canola, wheat, faba beans and cereals can look dramatic, previous experience has… Read more »

Being prepared for Russian wheat aphid in the Northern grains region

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The spread of Russian wheat aphid (RWA) (Diuraphis noxia) in the Northern grains region is considered inevitable. When it might be detected in wheat and barley is less clear as the key drivers of its spread are not well understood in Australia. Wind is likely to play a part in moving winged aphids from south to north. The most northerly… Read more »

Making decisions about Rutherglen bug in maturing sorghum crops

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Rutherglen bug (RGB) numbers are persisting in many sorghum crops as they start to reach physiological maturity. Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) research has shown no evidence of yield loss as a result of direct feeding on grain once it reaches physiological maturity (black layer). However, because most crops this year have staggered head emergence, there are a… Read more »