Campaign to educate Kansas farmers about wheat streak mosaic
July 7, 2017
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Controlling wheat streak mosaic is a community issue, say Kansas agriculture officials.
Kansas Wheat, along with the Kansas Department of Agriculture and Kansas State University, is launching a campaign to educate farmers about wheat streak and the need to control volunteer wheat, said Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer of Kansas Wheat, The Hutchinson News (http://bit.ly/2thWCq4 ) reported.
"We're planning a pretty aggressive awareness campaign to get it to producers and educate that this is an issue," said Gilpin.
Gilpin said the campaign will include how to control the green bridge that helps pests and disease cross from one cropping season to another. That includes volunteer wheat. Volunteer wheat is a host for the wheat curl mite, which is the transmitter for the wheat streak mosaic virus.
"We want to get the word out about controlling volunteer and understanding the green bridge that can happen with volunteer and the wheat curl mite," he said.
Gilpin said there also will be education on how a later planting date could help.
Rick Horton, a farmer in Wichita County, said wheat curl mites "are like a worm-type deal that has flaps. They will crawl to the top of a wheat plant when volunteer starts to die out. They will wait for a windy day, go to the top, open up their little flaps and just ride the wind. Whatever they hit they will hit.
The microscopic mite may hit milo stalks and they die in five to seven days. Or they will hit green corn and will be able to live, but they can't bring their populations very high. The mites could travel through the corn, then into the newly planted wheat crop.
"If they land on wheat. that is what the love," said Horton.
He said it usually takes a high population to bridge through a cornfield or a milo field and still be able to affect the wheat crop, which in turn means a region had really bad volunteer, he said.
"Everything stems back to they moved out of highly uncontrolled volunteer wheat," he said.
According to a recent Kansas State University agronomy publication on the issue, farmers should begin controlling volunteer early - including in acres of wheat hailed out during harvest.
If volunteer wheat and other hosts are not controlled throughout the summer and are infested with wheat curl mites, the mites will survive until fall and could soon infest newly planted wheat, thus leading to wheat streak mosaic infections.
Another tool, said Jason Ochs, a farmer in Hamilton County, is varieties that have wheat streak mosaic resistance. That includes Clara and Joe — both varieties of white wheat that he is currently harvest.
So far, he has had minimal damage from wheat streak mosaic in a county that has been hit hard by the virus. His lowest yield this harvest has been 53 bushels an acre.
Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com