Dr. Tom Allen, Experiment Station assistant research scientist and plant disease diagnostician, saw more than 150 wheat samples sent to the Great Plains Diagnostic Network lab this growing season, in addition to 400-plus samples the plant pathology staff gathered across the Panhandle.
Ninety-five percent of these samples were diagnosed with the wheat streak mosaic virus. In addition, 50 percent of the samples contained maize red stripe virus, more commonly known as High Plains virus. Both diseases are vectored by the wheat curl mite, Allen said. And so far, there's no treatment for either the viruses or the mite.
The Great Plains Diagnostic Network is a part of a national plant disease monitoring system, which is divided into five regions. The Amarillo facility, a satellite lab to one at Kansas State University, is operated under the Experiment Station's plant pathology program, headed by Dr. Charlie Rush.
Samples came by mail, through Texas Cooperative Extension agents or were dropped off by producers, Allen said.
They came from as far north as Nebraska and as far south as Dallas and the Hill Country, Rush said, making this one of the most widespread years for wheat streak mosaic damage.
"Without question, wheat streak mosaic virus is the No. 1 pathogen of wheat year in and year out," he said.
An early indication this wheat crop would have more problems than normal was the arrival of samples in the middle of October, Allen said,"which is pretty rare to see virus that early. "We've had quadruple the number of samples as any previous year," he said.
Once a crop is diagnosed with one of the viruses, there is little the producer can do, Allen said. Widespread cases can reduce yields enough that only grazing or making silage from the crop can salvage any income. In man
Source:Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications