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Aphids Out of Control in NSW and Vic

Cereal aphids are causing major problems in barley and wheat farms throughout NSW and Victoria, reported The Weekly Times.

Warm temperatures and low levels of rain caused the aphids to breed prolifically and reach some of the highest levels on record.

Dr Paul Umina from Cesar Pty Ltd explained that aphids are ‘sucking insects’ as they suck valuable nutrients from the crops they attack. They also spread diseases, he said, although this is considered less of a problem in spring.

Cesar’s PestFacts Newsletter reported that infestations usually happen during the booting to milky dough phase of plant growth. This can result in heavy crop losses, especially when they hit the flag leaf or stem.

The infestations result in the crop turning yellow, becoming stunted and generally unhealthy.

Small aphid populations are less of a problem and do not usually require chemical treatment.

Dr Umina recommended softer insecticides over broad spectrum alternatives as the broad spectrum insecticides will eliminate beneficial insects. This can lead to further pest problems such as armyworm outbreaks.