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Experts Warn Farmers Against Aphid Attack on Wheat

The Agriculture Department has asked farmers to protect wheat crops from aphid attack due to increasing temperature.

Eashani Chettri
Increasing temperatures can make wheat more vulnerable to aphid attack
Increasing temperatures can make wheat more vulnerable to aphid attack

Gurpreet Singh, Chief Agriculture Officer, Muktsar said, “Farmers should apply pesticides as directed if there are five aphids per wheat spikelet. When aphids attack wheat, the leaves become yellow, requiring prompt action.” Farmers are also advised to divide their field in four and do a crop survey.

5 aphids per ear head is the Economic Threshold level for aphids. ETL is the level at which control measures need to be brought in to reduce significant financial loss.

He said that while the situation was manageable at present, farmers needed to be careful about the temperature in the next few days.

“The decrease in wheat yield is caused due to increased temperatures. Light irrigation for wheat crop is a good idea at present. But avoid irrigation in windy weather. In the evenings, farmers should also spray the recommended dose of potassium nitrate on wheat,” said the Chief Agricultural Officer. The officials also conducted a field survey and found no traces of yellow rust.

What are aphids?

Aphids feed on plant sap, especially from the ears of plants. During the cold and overcast weather, they can be seen in great numbers on new leaves or ears.

The insects resemble green, dead louses. The females and nymphs have similar appearances, but the latter are bigger. During colder months, it reproduces quickly, reaching its peak population in February and March while the ears are ripening. The females are able to reproduce without mating and give birth to young.

When there is a lot of cloud cover, the damage is quite bad. A crop that has been well fertilised, well-irrigated, and succulent will harbour the pest for a longer time and sustain more damage.

The losses due to aphids have been reported upto 36 per cent.

Control measures

Endosulfan 35EC 4ml/kg of seed should be applied to the seed.

Spray 200-250 gm/ha of dimethoate, oxydemeton methyl, monocrotophos, or chloropyriphos if the infestation is in a standing crop.

To spray the material mentioned above, dissolve it in 600 to 700 litres of water.

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