Hessian fly may also cause trouble this year.

Edwards says development of Duster wheat variety reduced the effect of Hessian fly infestations “after building to alarming levels in 2006.  Back then, it appeared that Hessian fly was going to be the demise of no-till wheat in Oklahoma. Early planting, lack of crop rotation, and no-till, monocrop wheat all create a favorable environment for Hessian fly, and several early-sown fields were completely lost to the Hessian fly in 2006 and 2007.”

About that same time, OSU released Duster, an excellent wheat for grazing but with good grain yield potential. Duster also happened to be Hessian fly resistant. “This resistance was a clear proton torpedo in the thermal exhaust port of the fully operational Hessian fly Death Star (to use a Star Wars metaphor).”

The fly has been quiet for several years. “Over the past four years, I received very few calls about Hessian fly,” Edwards says. “It seemed that the adoption of Duster and unfavorable environmental conditions resulted in a dramatic reduction in Hessian fly in Oklahoma.”

But it may be back.  “There are indications that Hessian fly is making a return,” Edwards says. “I have received calls about Hessian fly this fall, most from southwest Oklahoma. In most cases, producers had either switched to a newer variety that was not Hessian fly resistant or changed to a non-resistant variety because they were displeased with Duster’s performance the past two years.”