Crop Scouting Report

Hessian Fly-Free Date is Oct. 10

Lamar, MO -- Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension, reports for the October crop scouting update.


"The Hessian fly free date for planting wheat in counties between Vernon and Jasper stretching east is October 10th. Hessian fly maggots hatch and feed on the grooves between the leaf sheath and stem with their sandpaper like mouthparts that suck plant juices," said Scheidt. Adults resemble mosquitos. Adult emergence is usually triggered by a rain; the majority emerge from September to October and only live 2-3 days. Following the "Fly-Free" date is important because females have such a short lifespan to find a suitable place to lay their eggs.  Planting after this date allows the majority of females to emerge and die before wheat is planted. Incidence of damage is more likely during years of abundant rainfall. "in the fall, maggots feed on the lower leaves and can cause heavy damage. Infested plants become stunted and stiffly erect, and leaves are thick with a bluish green color. Heavily damaged plants usually die during the winter," said Scheidt.

Insecticides are not effective, instead, use management practices decreasing survival and reproduction.

"Scout wheat for aphids after emergence until heading for threshold populations. Aphids vector Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus can severely stunt plants and effect yield," said Scheidt.

"The last safe date to plant wheat in the southwest region is October 30th - November 5th. At least 90 frost-free days are needed for double-crop soybeans to reach physiological maturity. Subtracting 90 days from the average date of the first killing frost in the fall gives the last average safe date for emergence of double-crop soybeans," said Scheidt.

Winter annual weeds emerge in fall, winter or spring and compete with wheat for moisture, light and nutrients. Winter annual weeds that germinate in the fall have the greatest effect on wheat yields; they initially compete with population and tillering.

Fertilization should take place during planting time in wheat. "A small application of nitrogen, such as 20 pounds nitrogen/acre is recommended to ensure good fall growth. Phosphorus should also be added if soil tests indicate less than 45 pounds/acre of phosphorus in the soil.

Call 417-682-3579 for more information, thank you.

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