Crop experts: Be on the lookout for pests, disease in alfalfa, winter wheat |

Crop experts: Be on the lookout for pests, disease in alfalfa, winter wheat

Plant pathologists are closely monitoring the development of certain crop pests and disease.

Due to weather conditions, there’s potential for the spreading of weevil in alfalfa and stripe rust, brown mites and Russian aphid in winter wheat, according to Colorado State University pathologists.

Alfalfa weevil is the most destructive insect pest of alfalfa in Colorado, lowering yield and quality. Development of this insect increases at a nearly constant rate as temperatures rise above 48 degrees.

In northern Colorado, most alfalfa-producing counties have already accumulated enough 48-degree days to where pathologists are encouraging producers to start scouting for alfalfa weevil as soon as possible.

Plant tip damage is readily visible if heavy infestation is present. Folded leaves must be opened to detect lighter infestations that may develop into serious infestations.

Insecticide applications and early harvesting are the most common management strategies.

For more information on combatting alfalfa weevil, go to

Additionally, reports of stripe rust are coming in from the southwestern and west central parts of Kansas; and the cool, wet weather last weekend may have increased the infection of rust spores. Scouting fields along the Kansas-Colorado border for stripe rust is recommended.

There are reports of brown wheat mite in southeastern Colorado, including Kit Carson and Prowers counties. So far, there are no reports on Russian wheat aphid in winter wheat, but pathologists are still keeping a look out due to current conditions.

Assefa Gebre-Amlak is a pest management specialist at the CSU Extension Office in Greeley. He can be reached at (970) 304-6535 ext. 2074.

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