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Corn aphids

High numbers of corn aphids (Rhopalosiphum maidis) have been found in an early-mid tillering barley crop near Ardlethan, in the Riverina district of New South Wales. Agronomist, Terry Edis (Elders), says they could be found on most plants, with approximately 10 aphids/plant in the worst affected area of the paddock. At this stage there are no visible signs of feeding damage caused by the aphids and there are no apparent virus issues.

Corn aphids have an oblong shaped, light green to olive coloured body with two dark areas on the abdomen near the base of the cornicles (siphuncles). Their antennae extend about one-third of the body length. Although corn aphids tend to occur mostly on barley, they may attack all cereals and heavy infestations can result in yield losses. Click here for images of corn aphids.

Corn aphids are known to vector barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV), one of the most important diseases of cereals in Australia. BYDV can cause significant losses in cereal crops, particularly when transmission occurs to young plants. Effectively controlling summer weeds is a good way to prevent the build up of aphid numbers as it removes the ‘green-bridge’ between cropping seasons.

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