Combating aphids

LOCAL grain growers can rest easy knowing Russian wheat aphids are less likely to be a major threat, following an information forum held in Riverton last week.

The session was held to provide management and researching findings in regards to the pest, which were first noticed in the local region during the 2015/16 harvest.

Roseworthy agronomist Chris Butler, who attended the forum, said the threats posed to grain will decrease provided appropriate measures are taken.

“We got some optimistic information that in the US, over time, the natural predators appear to have come in and taken control of the Russian wheat aphids and we no longer have peaks of very high numbers,” he said.

“We are only into one season and that took them (researchers) 15, but my feeling is, from the forum and from before that, this is a pest that we can deal with pretty confidently for the moment and farmers can expect it to become less of a pest into the future.”

Speakers on the day included South Australian Research and Development Institute entomologists Greg Baker and Maarten van Helden, and Colorado State University researcher Frank Peairs.

Mr Butler said “an integrated pest management approach” will be most effective in limiting the Russian wheat aphids’ damage and force, which is similar to other pests.

“There are other pests out there and we can’t take our eye off the ball, and need to be aware that there are other pests that we need to work with as well,” Mr Butler said.

“That includes the green peach aphid, which might be a bit of a problem this year, we don’t know.

“It all requires diligence and monitoring.”

For more information, or for tips on managing Russian wheat aphids, visit


Growing up in Roseworthy and attending Kapunda High School, Laura joins The Bunyip in June, 2016 whilst completing the final year of a double degree in Journalism and International Relations at University of SA. This is Laura's first role as a Journalist following a stint at Gawler Council in the Communications Department. She will cover the news in the Playford and Mallala council regions. Outside of work, Laura enjoys anything health and well-being related, and can be regularly seen shopping for fresh, healthy produce at local markets.