Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Wheat curl mite might require non-chemical control

The wheat curl mite is a minute menace that wreaks havoc on the region's wheat crop; but it has no enemies currently that can take it out. That doesn't mean Texas AgriLife Research scientists aren't trying to find ways to curb its appetite.

Three AgriLife Research scientists, working under Dr. Charlie Rush in plant pathology and Dr. Jerry Michels in entomology, are taking a close look at the damage caused by the wheat curl mite to determine some best management practices for producers and researchers.

They explained their current research at the recent Southwestern Wheat Research and Education Consortium meeting held in Amarillo, a gathering of scientists from Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas working on wheat issues.

Jacob Price, AgriLife Research associate researcher-plant pathology, participated in a virus survey in 2008 that encompassed most of the central U.S.

In the survey, the most common wheat viruses found in the 75 million acres of wheat across the U.S. – 3.3 million acres in Texas – were wheat streak mosaic virus, wheat mosaic virus (formerly High Plains virus) and a fairly recently discovered one, Triticum mosaic virus.

These viruses all have one common factor; they are all vectored by the wheat curl mite. And the hot spot for all three viruses was Texas, Price said.

Because there are no chemicals labeled for control of the wheat curl mite, researchers must find other ways to combat it.

Price said one way will be to work with wheat breeders.

"Because we found Triticum at such a high prevalence, it would be wise for the breeders to work closely with the pathologists when these new diseases come in," Price said. "We can work together to develop genetic resistance for problems facing us now and those that might affect us in the future."

Dr. Fekede Workneh, an AgriLife Research scientist in plant pathology, has been working to model the gradient of severity of wheat streak mosaic and its impact on grain yields across the field.

Volunteer wheat and grass vegetation are the green bridges that allow wheat curl mites to exist through the summer until the new wheat crop starts growing. The most damage appears to occur if infestation takes place early in the fall; however research is under way to determine the impact of time of infection, Workneh said.

The distance of these bridges from the wheat field can determine the severity of the virus damage, Workneh said.

"If it is a distant source, you will see sporadic and random occurrences across the field, because the mites are carried in the wind and their population gets diluted and dispersed," he said. "But the closer the source of mites, you will see more of a gradient virus infection in the field, beginning at the edge."

Workneh's advice is for growers to plant in mid-October or later if they know they have a source that will harbor the mites, and they want to break the green bridge between that source and the wheat crop.

"This probably is not practical advice for some, because wheat destined for grazing is planted early so that there would be enough forage for the cattle in the fall and winter," he said. "However, getting rid of any volunteer wheat nearby would definitely reduce the risk."

Chanda Henne, an AgriLife Research research technician in the entomology program, is trying to help growers recognize what plants, other than wheat, might serve as hosts for the mites.

She has verified that the wheat curl mite can be found on many grasses in the Texas Panhandle.

Henne tested six warm-season grass species, including Texoka buffalograss, Blackwell switchgrass, Hachita blue grama, Spar Old World Bluestem, Wrangler Bermuda grass and Haskell sideoats grama to see which ones serve as reservoirs for the mites or carry the virus.

Her study was conducted at the AgriLife Research station near Etter, where these grasses are growing under full irrigation, limited irrigation and dryland conditions.

While she has been collecting data for only about five months, she's found the switchgrass and blue grama grasses had significantly more mites than the other species. Both of these are native species and commonly used in the Conservation Reserve Program fields.

"Every time we went out there to sample, the mites were present, but they were not always present on all species," Henne said. "The only grass species that had mites on it every time we sampled was blue grama."

Dr. Charlie Rush | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Algorithm could streamline harvesting of hand-picked crops
13.03.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht A global conflict: agricultural production vs. biodiversity
06.03.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>