Comeback by rare pest damages wheat crop
Between 10 and 15 per cent of the lowland wheat-growing area has been damaged by the orange blossom midge, a rare pest not seen in such numbers in the UK for probably half a century.
The reduction in wheat yields is estimated at between 2 and 5 per cent; on some farms it is up to 30 per cent. Agricultural scientists are at a loss to explain the outbreak. However, the warm, dry weather at the end of June, when the ears on the wheat begin to form was crucial, enabling the midges to lay eggs in the wheat kernels.
The midge, 2mm long, can lie in the soil in pupa form for up to 20 years. Warmer and wetter weather earlier in the season has been advanced as a reason why it has emerged in numbers not seen in some areas for up to a century.
The Ministry of Agriculture said it was 'just one of those things'. Alternative hypotheses link it with climate change caused by global warming and the increase in agricultural 'set aside', land taken out of production which may act as a source of pests and crop disease.
As the larva eats the wheat grain from the inside, it is not easily detectable. By the time it was spotted, in a swathe along the south and east coasts from Wiltshire to Yorkshire, it was too late for spraying.
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
scienceScientists find the answer to a question that even puzzled Darwin
A very timely Great Train Robbery and a frantic 24 Hours in A&E among the highlights
arts + entsThe 'Friends' actor on his new role as campaigner on addiction issues
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Colin Farrell reveals ‘affair’ with Elizabeth Taylor: 'She was my last romantic relationship'
Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
Devyani Khobragade: India-US row escalates over arrest of diplomat in New York
Peter O'Toole: Tales of the late film icon
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 Facebook 'self-censorship': study records when you don't post to find more ways to share
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Vitamin pills are a waste of money, offer no health benefits and could be harmful - study
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >
£100 - £125 per day + Negotiable on role: Randstad Education London: Are you f...
£21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A full time teacher job a...
£125 - £135 per day + Long Term Roles are negotiable: Randstad Education Londo...
£125 - £135 per day + negotiable for long term roles: Randstad Education Londo...