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Wheat crop diagnostics may be as close as a cell phone in the near future from ongoing research at the Texas AgriLife Research-Amarillo, Texas AgriLife Extension Service-Dallas, Oklahoma State University, Kansas State University and Colorado State University.
Producers may soon reach for their iPhones or Droids when they find a problem in their wheat fields instead of sending clippings or dead insects to an expert, according to a Texas AgriLife Research scientist.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture is funding a four-year program under its Risk Avoidance and Mitigation Program to help build a database that will give producers real-time data for diagnostics.
Researchers participating in "iWheat" are AgriLife Research-Amarillo, Texas AgriLife Extension Service-Dallas, Oklahoma State University, Kansas State University and Colorado State University.
"The idea is to extend what we have already been working on with the former area-wide pest management for greenbugs and Russian wheat aphid project," said Dr. Jerry Michels, AgriLife Research entomologist in Amarillo.
Michels was referring to a five-year program in which the group of scientists sampled wheat and did remote sensing to understand the relationship of aphids in wheat crops over the southwestern Great Plains area.
"We tried to put together better management strategies for aphids with the entire area included instead of our individual regions," he said. "We looked at what the similarities and differences were and determined management strategies for the different producers depending on where they were located."