Wheat emergence and seedling development concerns
* Atrazine carryover. Wheat planted into soils with atrazine residue emerges then dies back from the tips of the oldest leaves first. Atrazine carryover is most likely to occur where there were high application rates, high soil pH, coarse-textured soils, and under dry conditions.
* Fall armyworms and army cutworms. Where fall armyworms infest the wheat, leaves start looking ragged from the “windowpaning” effect. As the worms grow, they will chew off entire leaves, tillers, or whole plants. Fall armyworms can move across a field in a wave, starting on one side of the field. Army cutworms may also damage wheat, much like fall armyworms. Army cutworms may successfully overwinter and continue feeding during mild spells throughout the winter and spring. Fall armyworms won't overwinter, thus they'll only be a problem until the advent of cold weather.
* Grasshoppers. Grasshoppers can be a problem along the edge of a field, where severe feeding can occur as other foliage turns brown. Three to four passes, as needed, from a sprayer with an insecticide along the edge of a field can usually minimize damage from this pest.
* False wireworms. These insects typically feed on seeds or seedling roots, and can cause death.
* White grubs. If young plants are dying, with no aboveground symptoms evident, white grubs may be the cause. Check to see if roots are pruned.
This is not a complete list of possible problems on early-season wheat by any means, just some of the most commonly found problems. For a complete discussion, see K-State’s publication S-84, “Diagnosing Wheat Production Problems” at: http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/crpsl2/s84.pdf/.
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