Laura: Disease

My Office – Throughout the last several weeks, there has been talk from the bloggers about a disease that has been affecting the wheat. I know our All Aboard readers are a diverse group, so I thought I’d offer a little “Wheat 101” mini lesson for those who may want some more details on what we’re talking about. If that may be you, keep reading. If you’re comfortable with all things wheat, you can skip this one and resume with the next post!

So what is wheat streak mosaic virus, and why is it such a problem? The reason it’s a problem is because it can cause significant yield reduction and cannot be treated or cured. This virus is spread by a tiny insect called a wheat curl mite. You can see a picture of it here. There are wheat varieties that are resistant; but over time, the mites can adapt, and the variety may become susceptible. The best treatment is making sure volunteer wheat in your area is taken care of, or in other words, destroyed. Other plants can sometimes play host to the mites and disease, but volunteer wheat tends to lead to the most issues. Mites love this green treat. In fact, they need something green like this to survive and can even survive the cold winter months. They can travel up to a half mile on the wind, which is why it is crucial that surrounding volunteer fields have been controlled in the weeks leading up to sowing the fall crop of wheat. Waiting until the “fly-free” date to drill can help too. Fall infestations can be most devastating, though spring infestations can have significant yield consequences as well.   

Plants that have been infected with WSMV exhibit leaves that are yellow, typically starting from the tip down. You can see pictures of the leaves and plants here.

If you are interested in learning more detailed information about this virus, my alma-mater has this great, easy-reading publication on the subject. I have included a link below for your convenience.

HPH 2017 - (Laura)

And since talking about things that can harm wheat can be a little stressful, lets all take a deep breath and enjoy this calming sunset scene from our recent travels.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura can be reached at

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