IPM Practices for Small Grains

Managing Winter Wheat Pest Problems in New York

Several important disease, insect, and weed problems can affect profitability of winter wheat production in New York. The most important pests are armyworm, cereal leaf beetle, Hessian fly, aphids, seedling blights, smuts and bunts, leaf and glume spots, leaf rust, powdery mildew, scab, yellow dwarf, wheat spindle streak mosaic, and weeds. Integrated pest management (IPM) methods can be used to help minimize the impact of these pests.

Pre- and postseason weed surveys are recommended to identify current and future weed control needs. Early-season weed monitoring should be conducted while wheat is at the emergence through tillering stages (GS 5, 4 to 8 inches tall with 12 or more leaves) and while annual broadleaf weeds are less than 1.5 inches. Postseason weed surveys can be conducted at or after time of harvest.

Disease assessments should be made from late April through early June (GS 3 to 5) for wheat spindle streak mosaic, yellow dwarf, and eyespot. Foliar fungal diseases (powdery mildew, leaf spots, and leaf rust) should be assessed from late April through mid-June (GS 6 to 10.5, stem elongation: first node through heading stage).

Insect pests should be checked while monitoring for disease problems. An additional field monitoring should be conducted during the heading growth stages (10.1 to 11) to check for diseases of grain heads and the presence of armyworm or fall armyworm.

See the tables below for suggestions on IPM activities and common pests by crop growth stage and seasonal occurrence.

Winter wheat pests and crop monitoring activities.
Routine Occasional
Planting to Freeze Dormancy
Weed survey, stand count, establishment problems, seed diseases/damping off (Pythium. Phytophtora/Rhizoctonia), aphids, Hessian fly, watch for “occasional” pests/problems Planter problems, poor seed germination, poor soil conditions, vertebrate damage (birds, rodents), herbicide injury, cereal leaf beetle
Early Spring (break dormancy to tillering)
Stand count, overwintering problems, weed survey, virus diseases (soil borne viruses, wheat spindle steak mosaic, yellow dwarf), eyespot, powdery mildew, white grub, wireworm, aphids, cutworms, armyworm, cereal leaf beetles, vertebrate damage (geese), watch for “occasional”pests/problems Snow mold, herbicide injury, hail, frost/freeze, drought
Stem extension (jointing to boot stage)
Leaf spots (Septoria nodorum blotch, tan spot, powdery mildew, leaf rust), cereal leaf beetles, watch for “occasional” pests/problems Herbicide injury, hail, frost/freeze, drought, armyworm, aphids, cutworms, fall armyworm, grasshoppers
Flowering to Grain Ripening
Root and crown rots, cutworms, armyworm, Fusarium head blight/scab, viruses, bunt, smut, leaf spots (powdery mildew, Stagnospora nodorum blotch, Tan spot, leaf rust), cereal leaf beetles, watch for “occasional” pests/problems Wind, excessive nitrogen, lodging, nutrient deficiency, stripe rust, armyworm, stalk borer, European corn borer, fall armyworm, wheat stem sawfly, grasshoppers, white grub, wireworm, flea beetles
Winter wheat IPM scouting calendar
Pest Recommended Activity Months
  Stand Count/Assessment April-May
Weeds Weed Survey October, March-May
Diseases Monitor closely for virus diseases April-June
Monitor closely for fungal diseases May-June
Insects aphids/Hessian fly September-October; late April-early July
cereal leaf beetle early April-early July
cutworms April-May
armyworm/fall armyworm late April-July
European corn borer, grasshoppers mid May-July

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