Kansas State University


Extension Entomology

Volunteer Wheat

–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth and Dr. Holly Schwarting

Wheat is, and will continue to be planted throughout south central and north central Kansas over the next few weeks, as weather permits.  So, this is the best, and last, chance to control all volunteer wheat, which should be destroyed at least 2 weeks prior to planting the 2018 crop.  Volunteer wheat hasn’t been as persistent as in 2016, mainly because of the numerous rains that occurred in 2016 vs. this past year which has been drier.  However, there is still plenty of volunteer around and it just doesn’t take much wheat to support huge numbers of pests.  Wheat curl mites and Hessian flies are the arthropods most reliant on volunteer wheat as a ‘green bridge’.  In addition, many pathogens are also able to utilize volunteer wheat as a reservoir until it is able to infect a vector and is then transferred to cultivated plants.  Thus, eliminating this green bridge prior to planting along with delaying planting as long as possible, will go a long way toward reducing arthropod pests and pathogens in the newly planted wheat.


For more information on the Best Pest Management planting date as well as other pre-planting decisions, please see the 2017 Wheat Insect Management Guide: https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/mf745.pdf

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