While the mild fall promoted wheat establishment, it also favored survival of wheat curl mites, the leading vector of several viruses common to Nebraska wheat. While much of the state's wheat crop entered winter in very good condition, growers are urged to scout for viruses this spring and assess yield potential of individual fields when making management decisions.
Nebraska grain sorghum producers are being advised to be on the lookout for sugarcane aphids. While this pest hasn't been a problem in Nebraska previously, it is in Kansas and moving north. The sugarcane aphid is light yellow to gray in color, with dark cornicles (“tail-pipes”) at the end of the body and dark tarsi (feet). Adult aphids can be winged or wingless.
The first western bean cutworm moths were captured in University of Nebraska-Lincoln black light traps June 23 at Clay Center, June 27 at North Platte, and June 30 at Scottsbluff. Flights are currently increasing, particularly in North Platte. Scouting should be underway across much of the state.
Accumulated degree-days offer a proven means for estimating when to scout for insects, including the western bean cutworm. Here's how to estimate insect growth and recommended dates to start scouting for WBC at 14 Nebraska sites.
By far, the greatest risk of losses from mite-vectored viruses occurs when there is a summer "green bridge" of volunteer wheat emerging before harvest. This almost always occurs as a result of wheat seed head shatter from hail storms (Figure 1).