Wheat crop looking better, pines hurting

The cool weather and recent moisture continue to fuel my optimism that a good wheat harvest is still likely. I have seen isolated fields with various problems, but for the most part I really like our wheat crop.

Therefore, this should be a good time to announce that the 2002 Mahon County Wheat Tour will be held May 20. This year we will begin at 5 p.m. at the farm of Lewis Unruh. The field is located 12 miles south of Hillsboro on Indigo Road, or go one mile north of U.S. Highway 50 intersection where you will see the plot.

From there we will caravan to Lincolnville to Agri Producers Inc., where we hope to arrive around 6:15. Afterward, API will sponsor the burgers and trimmings for supper.

This year Jim Shroyer, a wheat specialist from Kansas StateUniversity will be on hand to discuss the wheat conditions. So please join us if you can, it promises to be both educational and fun.

What is eating my pine trees? Unfortunately we are still struggling with our pines. Last fall I remember receiving many calls about damaged pines and now this spring, here we go again. Though the causes are not the same, some of our pines continue to struggle.

Last week a number of people called and brought samples of a mite feeding on pine needles. What we are seeing is the European Pine Sawfly. It is not misnamed as what we have now is the larval stage. The larvae feed in masses, grow quickly and will strip branches of all needles.

The larvae will pupate in debris at the base of a tree, and emerge as adults in October. Then they lay their eggs inside the needles, and the larvae will hatch in late March and start the cycle all over.

Insecticides with the active ingredient Malathion, should provide extended control of the larvae. It should also be noted when using these products, they are wide spectrum, meaning they kill not only the targeted insect, but also non-targeted organisms including beneficial predator and parasite insect species. As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to give me a call.

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