Current methods used to control wheat diseases vectored by mites are insufficient and are based on decades-old technology.
Angela Simmons, Texas A&M AgriLife Research graduate student, threshes individual wheat plots for grain yield. Later, the yields were correlated to disease ratings taken by a ground spectrometer.
Dr. Charlie Rush, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant pathologist in Amarillo, has received a grant that may lead to an integrated management program for all mite-vectored diseases of wheat.
The grant is provided through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Southern Region Integrated Pest Management program. Researchers hope to update 1950s and 1960s technology and methods currently used to control mites and diseases they transmit, Rush said.
The primary methods of control in place since the wheat curl mite was discovered have been to plant wheat later and control volunteer wheat in the off-season, he said.
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“Both of those are still relevant, but a cattleman planting wheat for grazing can’t wait to plant, and not everyone can control the volunteer sources around them, such as Conservation Reserve Program grass fields and other places that serve as an over-summer host for the mites,” Rush said.
Read here to learn more about mite-vectored wheat diseases and how this grant will help in management them.