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.
- BioControl Bytes - a monthly blog from the New York State IPM Program's BioControl Specialist
- NYS IPM videos on YouTube
- Growth stages (GS) of wheat according to the Feeke's scale.
- New York State IPM Program