Louisiana Wheat: Vernilization Issues, Early Diseases, and Hessian Fly

    I spent the day taking notes in wheat preliminary yield trials and observation plots. We have had a very mild winter and there are many entries that failed to vernalize properly, including some LSU breeding lines that were born and raised here.

    In my Wheat Vernalization Trials, designed to test adaptation of new commercial to south Louisiana prior to entry in the state trials, only one entry (my early check) headed out.

    There is some leaf rust and a significant amount of scab in the nurseries. The scab is primarily in the medium early lines. There are large heading date differences ranging from mid March heading to not vernalized, which greatly complicate rating for FHB reaction.

    The shocker for the day – and I should have noticed weeks ago, was a tremendous Hessian Fly infestation. I have never rated HF in Baton Rouge and it seldom occurs to a level significant enough to notice.

    Because we have so many vernalization issues this year, I have been calling the ragged plots segvernalization or partially vernalized. Maybe after another 32 years of wheat breeding I’ll know better.

    We have a very nasty Hessian Fly infestation. We will spend the next few days going back and rating lines for HF. There are lots of short plants with heads in some plots and these had HF in every case.

    We probably pulled plants from 100 plots today and split stems to verify that our visual ratings were pretty accurate.  I checked my headrow field, about ¼ mile away, and was unable to find a single fly.  There was about a 3-week difference in planting date and neither field followed wheat the previous year.

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