Wheat Pests Travel Through Minnesota | Syngenta US

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Rising populations of wheat pest travel through Minnesota

  • Wheat stem sawfly populations rising in Minnesota
  • Researchers encourage growers to report cases of wheat stem sawfly
  • Syngenta wheat varieties may be an option for sawfly management

MINNETONKA, Minn., USA, January 17, 2019 – Wheat stem sawfly populations are increasing in Minnesota. Though native to the Northern Plains and more dominant in the west, grower reports indicate increased populations of sawfly appearing in areas of northwest Minnesota. While it is unknown how prevalent the pest will be in Minnesota, it is important that growers are aware of the potential damage this pest can cause and know how to adequately protect their fields.

​​​​​​​“Populations are high enough that we can easily spot sawfly damage – especially around field edges,” said Jochum Wiersma, small grains specialist at University of Minnesota. "While the pest is still a bit of a curiosity, the biggest problem right now in Minnesota is harvestability when the crop falls flat.”

The most visible sawfly damage is lodging just before harvest, particularly along field margins. Wheat stem sawfly larvae overwinter in cut wheat stubble and drift to nearby wheat the following year. Infested stems will be plugged on the ends by the larva for protection. Slicing open infested stems will reveal feeding damage from the pest.

“While there are many solid stem varieties being grown way out west, most of them aren’t well adapted to this area,” said Kevin Capistran, a wheat grower in Crookston, Minnesota, whose fields have been damaged by sawfly. “It will be a bit of a challenge to adapt, but we’ll probably look at sawfly-tolerant varieties to try in our strip trials and see how they perform.”

A new solid stem wheat variety, AgriPro® brand SY Longmire, may be an option for sawfly control. Though still in testing, this sawfly-tolerant spring wheat variety will be available for grower purchase in 2020.

“SY Longmire spring wheat variety offers good straw strength, a solid stem, and a well-rounded disease package” said Corey Dathe, AgriPro key account lead. “Planting this variety along field edges could reduce risk of sawfly migrations without sacrificing yield.”

Still in the early stages of understanding the pest and its potential impact on the Minnesota wheat crop, researchers are advising growers to monitor their fields. Report any lodged stems, their location and an estimate of cut stems per row foot to Phillip Glogoza or Jochum Wiersma at the University of Minnesota.

For more information about AgriPro brand wheat varieties or to find a local AgriPro Associate, visit www.agriprowheat.com. Join the conversation online – connect with Syngenta at Syngenta-us.com/social.

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Media Contacts:
Shane Dailey

Erin Jones

Web Resources:
Syngenta Newsroom
Know More, Grow More
Syngenta U.S.
University of Minnesota Extension

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