The wheat diseases (Wheat streak mosaic virus, Wheat mosaic virus, and Triticum mosaic virus) are all vectored by the wheat curl mite, Aceria tosichella Keifer. These diseases cause devastating yield losses. Unfortunately, our current practices for managing these diseases are the same practices that were used in the early 1970’s. These practices are delayed planting, clean tillage, and destruction of volunteer wheat in August and early September in order to break the “green bridge” cycle of wheat curl mites moving onto the wheat seedlings in the fall.
|Wheat curl mite, Photo by Jacob Price|
However, Dr. Charlie Rush with the Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Bushland, Tx and his research team are continuing to study the relationship of the wheat curl mite to disease infection and the impact of the progressive nature of the disease on additional crop inputs, such as fertilization and irrigation. Research findings are providing valuable information that are leading to management decisions which will reduce the losses from mite-vectored virus diseases. The research objectives are 1) evaluate the impact of cultivar mixes and deficit irrigation on mite infestations, 2) develop an economic threshold for mite-vectored virus diseases of wheat, and 3) identify new chemistries for efficacy in controlling the wheat curl mite. Coupled with the research objectives there are objectives for Extension to 1) develop multi-media educational tools and programs for mite-vectored diseases and 2) develop a First Alert system for tracking the progression of the mite-vectored diseases across the Texas High Plains during a growing season.
A website “Wheat Virus Early Detection System” is being created so individuals can go to for information about mite-vectored virus diseases and the wheat curl mite. The site will show, by county in the Texas High Plains, when each of the viruses have been positively detected. Individuals can follow where hot spots are occurring and the progression of virus development across the Texas High Plains. This system will provide an early detection for when virus infections are light or heavy each season. When the website is completed I will provide a link to it. We expect the website to be available before fall 2014.
|Leaf curling from wheat curl mite feeding, Photo by Jacob Price|
Currently, few samples have been submitted this year to the Plant Diagnostic Clinic at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center. Because of the limited number of samples there has not been wide spread detection of these diseases. We encourage submission of samples to the Plant Diagnostic Clinic because as wheat begins growing now the symptoms development of diseases may increase.