Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Small Grain Aphids Have Arrived, but at Extremely Low Numbers

I scouted our winter wheat planting date by barley yellow dwarf virus trial this morning at Lancaster WI. Our earliest planting date (September 17th 2008) survived the winter very well and is nearing the Zadoks 30 (pseudostem erection) growth stage. Crop development of the later planting dates (September 30th and October 13th) are significantly behind the earliest date, Zadoks 13, 22 and 12, respectively. Across all of our plots I found only one Oat Bird Cherry aphid. The established spring threshold for this pest is 50 aphids per linear foot of row.

Oat Bird Cherry Aphid
Drawing Courtesey of Dennis Murphy

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wheat Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center - 2009

The Wheat Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center and forecast tool is now active for 2009. The site can be accessed at I will again be writing state commentary for this site and will update growers on wheat growth stages in relation to our observations of wheat diseases. We will have an active wheat program for 2009, with our disease assessments commencing at Zadoks 30 (Feekes 4-5, or jointing) and continuing through our head blight assessments at approximately soft dough. We recently wrote for the Wisconsin Crop Manager an updated article on making foliar fungicide decisions based on current knowledge of disease thresholds for diseases like rust, powdery mildew, and Septoria leaf blotch. That is available here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

WSMB Offers Free Soybean Cyst Nematode Testing

Shawn Conley, Paul Esker, and John Gaska

The UW-Madison Agronomy Department, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, is again offering free soybean cyst nematode (SCN) soil testing for Wisconsin growers. This program is intended for growers to sample several of their fields in order to identify if SCN is present and at what levels. Growers will be responsible for collecting soil from fields suspected to have SCN and then sending the sample to the SCN testing laboratory for analysis. They will receive a lab report back with the SCN egg count and a brochure to help plan future rotations and other cultural practices to lower SCN infestation if they exist.

We have a limited number of these free kits available and will furnish them on a first come - first served basis at up to four per farm. Crop consultants, advisors, and crop input retailers are encouraged to request kits for their client’s farms. Each kit has a bag and a prepaid mailer for one soil sample, which should represent about 10-15 acres. Both the postage and lab fees are prepaid. Anytime before, during, or right after the growing season are great times to collect soil samples for routine soil fertility analysis and for SCN monitoring.

Soil sample test kits are available now and can be requested from Colleen Smith at or at 608-262-7702.

For more information on SCN testing and management practices to help reduce the losses from this pest, please contact: Shawn Conley:; 608-262-7975