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 Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

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: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>