Texas AgriLife researchers are working on multiple fronts to improve opportunities for wheat production throughout the state. Recent reports from media specialists Kay Ledbetter, Amarillo, and Paul Schattenberg, College Station, highlight work on disease control, variety development and efforts to extend the range of wheat production into new, underutilized areas.

Ledbetter reports on efforts to manage wheat streak mosaic, a common disease that occurs in the Texas Panhandle and Great Plains every year. The disease is not easily distinguishable from drought stress. Misidentification could result in wasted inputs. Knowing when the disease is present will give producers information to make better management decisions in-season, researchers say.

Dr. Charlie Rush, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant pathologist in Amarillo, and senior research associate, Jacob Price, recently conducted a field day to educate farmers about the impact of wheat streak and other mite-vectored viruses on grain yield.

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“We are trying to explain that when plants are infected, they cannot efficiently use the water applied in irrigated situations and they are no longer able to take up nutrients,” Rush said. “We are trying to develop an economic threshold for wheat streak so farmers will know when it is worthwhile for them to try to manage it and get something out of the crop or to make the determination that it is diseased to a point where it is not worth putting on additional inputs.”

Rush said producers sometimes have difficulty differentiating between drought stress and wheat streak mosaic. Read the full report.