From the Ground Up

Inspiring views on the evolution of soil and agriculture.

Wheat Midge and the Importance of Early Maturity

Over the last number of months, we have been discussing how a seeding operation affects other areas of farming throughout the year.  With the hot, dry weather being experienced across the prairies, it is a good time to talk about another damaging pest:  wheat midge.  Even though forecast maps often predict varying populations for different areas, it is still important to scout for midge as high infestations can cause severe damage to wheat which can result in large quality/yield losses if left unchecked.  Adult midge over-winter in the soil and emerge in late June or early July.  Females lay eggs in the emerging wheat heads which are especially susceptible from emergence to early flowering (anthesis).  The larvae that hatch feed on the developing kernel causing it to shrivel, deform and become cracked.  Downgrading of wheat samples directly affects the bottom line of any farming operation as well as the yield losses from the shriveled kernels being thrown out the …