Farm Talk

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September 25, 2013

A silent yield killer


Parsons, Kansas —

Infested stubble should be destroyed. Research studies have shown that thorough incorporation can accomplish this. These studies showed that if the residue was buried to a depth of one inch, only 26 percent of the Hessian flies would emerge. At two inches, the percentage drops to six percent. Burning has also been shown to destroy the flaxseeds above ground, but there can be flaxseed survive because fast moving fires do not destroy low enough in the crown.

Hessian fly is more of an issue in a continuous wheat system, so crop rotation is highly recommended.

There is a fly-free date. In the Wildcat Extension District, the fly-free date is October 12 or 13. In theory, waiting to plant until after this date allows for the fall flies to emerge and die before the wheat can be infested. However, many factors can play a role in whether or not this strategy works, most important of which is the relative mildness of a given late fall/winter.

As with most wheat pests, volunteer wheat is the perfect host for Hessian fly. Due to this, volunteer wheat should be destroyed. Not destroying volunteer can render other management strategies ineffective as well. Unfortunately, this also applies to your neighbors volunteer as well.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call me at the office (620) 724-8233, or e-mail me at jcoltrain@ksu. edu, or visit the Wildcat Extension District Website at £

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