Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cereal Leaf Beetle in Winter Wheat, Canyon County

Cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus) infestation was identified in winter wheat experimental plots at the University of Idaho Parma Research and Extension Center as well as in surrounding grower fields in Canyon County. The typical feeding patterns, eggs and larvae have been confirmed by Dr. James Barbour, UI IPM Specialist. The first symptoms of infestation became apparent last week. Currently, most plants have at least one leaf with obvious feeding damage. The cereal leaf beetle has a variety of hosts among cereals and grasses with preference to oat, barley, wheat, rye, timothy, fescue, grain sorghum and corn. Substantial crop yield loss and quality decrease can be expected due to lost photosynthetic activity resulting from the feeding damage.

Cereal leaf beetle is a quarantined insect the U.S., which means that the presence of beetles in grain restricts exports to uninfested areas. Fumigation is required to prevent the spread of beetle infestation.

Scouting of fields is vital both before and during the boot stage to assess for cereal leaf beetle presence and damage. It is recommended to scout weekly by walking through the field in a “W” pattern for best coverage. Stop at 5-10 locations depending on field size and examine 10 plants per location. Count the number of eggs and larvae per plant for smaller plants or per stem for larger plants.

 Winter wheat leaves affected by cereal leaf beetle, University of Idaho Parma R&E Center, Parma, ID, April 2015.

Treatment thresholds:  3 larvae per plant and/or 3 eggs per plant before boot stage, and 1 larva per flag leaf after boot stage.

Management-chemical control (From PNW Insect Management Handbook)

  • bifenthrin (BrigadeƆ 2EC and WSB) at 6.4 fl oz/a (0.1 lb ai/a). Apply in spring if one or more eggs or larvae are detected or in late summer if beetles are defoliating seedling stands. Maximum amount allowed 12.8 fl oz/a (0.2 lb ai/a) per season but no more than once every 12 days. PHI 30 days prior to harvest for forage, hay and seed.
  • cyfluthrin (Baythroid XL) at 0.013 to 0.015 lb ai/a. PHI 0 days. REI 12 hr. Maximum amount allowed per 5 day interval is 0.022 lb ai/a. Maximum amount allowed per crop season is 0.089 lb ai/a.
  • lambda-cyhalothrin (Warrior) at 0.02 to 0.03 lb ai/a. PHI 0 days for grazing and forage, 7 days for straw and seed crop. REI 24 hr.
  • zeta-cypermethrin (Mustang MAX) at 0.0175 to 0.025 lb ai/a. PHI 0 days forage, hay; 7 days straw and seed screenings. REI 12 hr. For forage and hay use no more than 0.10 lb ai/a per season; make subsequent applications no closer than 7 days. For straw and seed screenings use no more than 0.125 lb ai/a per season; make subsequent applications no closer than 17 days.

Cereal Leaf Beetle eggs. Phillips et al., 2011 (   

Windowpaning.  One side of the leaf is scrapped off leaving the other side intact and translucent.  This gives the feeding lesion a window-like appearance.  Primarily caused by some young beetle and moth larvae. (University of Kentucky, )
University of Idaho CIS on cereal leaf beetle:


Monday, April 27, 2015

Conserving soil and water in world's driest wheat region

An undercutter tillage implement used for primary spring tillage in the Horse Heaven Hills, plus fertilizer injection in mid-April during the fallow year. Blowing dust emissions are reduced by 70% with undercutter tillage versus traditional tillage methods. Photo: Bill Schillinger.

"Despite the modest grain yield potential, wheat farming in this environment can be profitable—with enough acreage and judicious use of inputs to manage costs."

Dr. Schillinger is principal investigator of three multi-disciplinary long-term dryland and irrigated cropping systems experiments. His research interests include: conservation-till and no-till farming methods to control wind erosion, increased cropping intensity in typical wheat-fallow areas, water stress physiology of wheat, ecology of Russian thistle (Salsola iberica), epidemiology of the fungal root pathogen Rhizoctonia solani in no-till soils, alternative crops, and soil and residue management practices to increase water storage and efficient use of precipitation.

Bill Schillinger
WSU Dryland Research Station
PO Box B
Lind, WA  99341
Phone 509-235-1933

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

No-Till Farming Grows in Popularity

For information on no-till farming, visit:
Gordon Gallup mixes tanks for pre-plant spraying on his farm in Ririe. Using no-till farming methods has allowed Gallup to cut back on pesticide use and irrigation on his 3,000-acre dryland farm.
This will be Gordon Gallup ’s 30th season of no-till planting on his 3,000-acre Ririe farm.
Gallup, who grows wheat, barley and alfalfa, said using no-till methods has helped him save money on fuel, water and fertilizer costs.
“I started it more as a conservation practice, trying to stop (soil) erosion,” he said. “(When I used to till) we were going across the soil five to seven times before we put the seed in, and every time you do, you lose moisture.”
Using the no-till method, farmers put seed and fertilizer directly into the soil without tilling it first. The topsoil is left undisturbed so that organic matter in the soil remains intact. That organic matter helps keep moisture in the soil, decreasing erosion and the need for irrigation. The organic matter composts naturally, acting as a built-in fertilizer.
But the effectiveness of no-till farming depends on many different factors, such as climate, soil type, crops being grown and how long no-till has been used.
For dryland farms in eastern Idaho that have been using traditional tilling methods, it can take several seasons before no-till begins to show real benefits, which can be discouraging for the farmers.
“It takes longer to build the organic matter (in the soil) here,” Gallup said. “I think that happens a lot, people try it one year and say it didn’t work.”
Although data was not available for eastern Idaho, no-till farming — also called direct seed — appears to be growing in popularity across the U.S. Although the method is not without its critics and concerns, its benefits are attracting more and more farmers each year.
 The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates more than 35 percent of farmers who plant the eight major crops — wheat, barley, corn, oats, rice, cotton, soybeans and sorghum — were using no-till methods in 2009, although only about 10 percent used no-till methods full-time.
No-till farming methods increased for four crops in particular — corn, cotton, soybeans and rice — at a median rate of 1.5 percent per year from 2000 to 2007.
When he’s not busy in the fields, Gallup represents the Idaho Wheat Commission’s Fourth District, which encompasses Bonneville, Bingham, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Madison and Teton counties.
Gallup also has overseen the Wheat Commission’s Southern Idaho Direct Seed Workshop for the past seven years — an event that has experienced steady growth.
“The first year, we had 40 to 50 people.… We had about 120 people last year,” Gallup said. “We’re getting a lot of people coming from Utah and Montana to these meetings.”

Olga Walsh, University of Idaho cropping systems agronomist and extension specialist, said when a farm switches from tilling to no-till, it can take five to six years years to build soil structure, water holding capacity and organic matter. During that time, farmers might need to use more nitrogen fertilizers to help the crops grow, but after that initial period of adjustment, farmers save money on fertilizers, fuel costs and more.
“The long-term effects are worth it,” she said. “In five years, you should be saving (money).”
Perhaps more importantly, farmers also will be conserving the topsoil and using less water for irrigation. Every tillage pass can cost growers about .25 inches of plant available water, Walsh said.“Right now, we’re experiencing water shortages due to low snowpack accumulation during the mild winter,” she said. “Not as bad as California, (but) in general, in the western part of the United States, water is a tremendous concern.”
Aside from the initial costs of new equipment and waiting for the soil to return to a healthier state, critics of no-till farming also cite herbicides as a concern.
Tilling helps farmers get rid of weeds. Many no-till farms have to use more herbicides to get the same results. That not only is an added expense, but also an environmental concern for many.
No-till may be easier for start-up farms, rather than those with existing infrastructure, in part because it takes less time for the soil to adapt and because there is no need to change equipment.

Ohana No-Till Farm, near Meridian, is in its second season and never used traditional tilling methods.
“It was a very unique set of circumstances that allowed us to start right from the get-go (as a no-till farm),” said David Mitchell, “grow maestro” at Ohana No-Till Farm. “We had a pretty good success rate our first season.”
Ohana grows a large variety of crops, primarily vegetables and leafy greens, on three acres of land. But Mitchell said he gets three times the yield of a traditional farm of the same size because Ohana uses every inch of space for crops and cover plants, a method called small plot intensive relay.
This method also eliminates weed issues, allowing Ohana to avoid all chemical herbicides, Mitchell said.
“If there’s nowhere for weeds to grow, they won’t grow,” he said.
Mitchell said he hopes the benefits of no-till will continue to attract more farmers.
“This is probably the most sustainable method … that can be done on a large scale. I would love to see more commercial farmers embrace the no-till method,” he said.

Photos by Greg Winston, courtesy of Idaho Wheat Commission.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus and Stripe Rust Updates

By Juliet Marshall, University of Idaho Cereal Cropping Systems Agronomist and Pathologist, Aberdeen Research & Extension Center.

Idaho Barley yellow dwarf symptoms are now appearing in additional areas in eastern Idaho (Hamer, Idaho Falls, Shelly, Blackfoot, Pocatello Valley, Soda Springs, Preston, Northern Utah) in winter wheat and winter barley (although there is less winter barley in these areas). As fields in southern and western Idaho start to develop flag leaves and initiate heading, you may see a reappearance of symptoms in the flag leaves. (See the picture of Stephens just prior to heading in the CIS 1210 at: ).

The symptoms do not seem to be as severe or extensive in eastern Idaho, but we are keeping an eye on the situation, especially due to the complications of cold weather and snow causing tips burn and freeze damage. Also being seen is leaf purpling that may be phosphorus deficiency.

This virus is finicky to test, and it is hard to detect the virus in ELISA tests that depend on virus concentrations in the plant tissue. 

Without the presence of high populations of aphids, we don’t expect the virus to be a problem in our spring wheat and barley. The virus requires aphids for transmission.

Barley Yellow Dwarf Sample Testing
We are no longer processing samples, due to the expense and time associated with testing. 
But if you wish to have samples tested, please contact one of the following people: 

Harry Kreeft at Western Labs in Parma, ID

Liz Vavricka at the ISDA (will test a limited number of samples from western Idaho)
Plant Industry Laboratory
P.O. Box 790
Boise, ID 83701
Office: (208) 332-8640
Fax: (208) 332-8645


Please also be aware that the potential for stripe rust to show up early and be more severe than last year is high! Keep an eye out for stripe rust in susceptible varieties, especially Brundage soft white winter wheat. Reports from Washington and Oregon indicate high infection levels in susceptible varieties. With cool / cold temperatures and very high winds, we could be in for damaging levels of this disease.