News and knowhow for farmers

Controlling aphids in wheat causing up to 100% damage

Share on social media

The Russian wheat aphid is a serious pest of wheat and barley causing yield losses of between 20 to 100 per cent in affected crops.

The aphid originated in Russia and was first recorded in Kenya in 1995 according to the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO). It has since been affecting farmers’ crops in Nakuru, Eldoret, Kitale, East and West Mau escarpment, Nyandarua, Timau, and Maralal.

The initial symptom of the disease is moderate yellowing of the wheat/barley with the crop appearing to be under drought duress even when there is no drought. The aphid causes the leaves to curl as the pest lives inside the tightly rolled leaves stunting the crop in the process.

Farmers can control the pest through chemical control either by applying systemic insecticides on seeds at planting or foliar fertilisers on the leaves.

The chemical applied with the seed at planting is Gaucho 350 FS at the rate of 200ml per 100kg of seed or Carbofuran 350 ST at the rate of 750ml per 100kg of seed.

Related content

New wheat planting method tames weed spread

Kenya faces wheat shortage as farmers abandon the crop

Farmer earns from hay as peers suffer maize and wheat losses

wheat field

Foliar fertlisers are applied when damage signs on the leaves are noticed with one spray recommended.

Foliar fertilisers to be applied are Acozord (750ml/ha, Metasystox (500ml/ha), or Dimecron (800ml/ha).

Farmers can also embrace cultural control by increasing plant density using as low plant densities are prone to attack by the pest. Remove volunteer plants such as grasses that act as hosts for the pests even before the crop is planted.

According to KNBS, Kenyans consume an estimated one million tonnes of wheat annually with the crop being the second most important cereal grain after maize in Kenya.

Share on social media

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top