The Russian wheat aphid has been found near Pinkawillinie and Buckleboo in the last fortnight.
The aphid is found in all major cereal production regions across the world but had not been recorded in Australia until mid last year when it was detected in South Australia’s Mid North.
Kimba Platinum Ag agronomist Kevin Dart said since the recent Eyre Peninsula sighting, he had been in constant contact with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).
“We are currently undertaking a monitoring process, where we will be monitoring mature barley and wheat crops in the affected area, checking paddock to paddock,” Mr Dart said.
“SARDI has given us thresholds and once we reach these thresholds, we will then look into using insecticides.
“Right now, we are trying to learn as much as possible about the Russian wheat aphid, while also being proactive in protecting the crops.”
The Russian wheat aphid is a major pest that injects toxins into the plants during feeding to stunt the plant’s growth and with heavy infestation can kill the plant.
Plants affected by the insect’s toxins will show whitish, yellow and red markings on the leaves and may also have rolling leaves.
The aphid is about two millimetres long, pale yellowish green with a fine waxy coating.
While insecticides will eradicate the Russian wheat aphid, it will also kill beneficial insects.
“We are hoping that the insects that are beneficial for the crops, will do most of the work and kill the Russian wheat aphid,” Mr Dart said.
“We are trying to maximise crop yields, so if the Russian wheat aphids start to have a major effect on the yields, we will step in.”