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Wheat Streak Mosaic Ongoing Concern For Wheat Farmers

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K-State Research and Extension

Of all the challenges to this year’s wheat crop, the wheat streak mosaic virus is the one most concerning to farmers.

As The High Plains Journal reports, extension specialists from Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are spreading the message that controlling wheat streak mosaic depends on controlling the “green bridge” that hosts the wheat streak curl mites.

Eric DeWolf, wheat pathologist with Kansas University Extension, said during a discussion held at the Southwest Research Center in Garden City, Kansas in May that above normal levels of the virus were seen in the western one-third of Kansas this year, which he attributed mainly to weather and volunteer wheat.
DeWolf said grasses in ditches are susceptible to the disease but that it was the moisture that created multiple flushes of volunteer wheat, which was hard to manage because of the down farm economy.

He said wheat streak curl mites only need a patch of green grasses to serve as a refuge or “green bridge” from tillage or herbicide operations.

Mild fall temperatures also played a role in spreading the virus.