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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May Wheat

           All totaled, our area wheat could be much worse off considering the environment and drought we have been forced to grow it in.  I see no major pest issues in the Hale & Swisher fields I have been able to check these past few weeks.  The largest concern has been potential damage from the April freeze event and detection of wheat virus in fields producers are pushing for grain yields.  In our most recent newsletter, I estimated that the majority of wheat fields I had checked had only about 5% damage in the lower portions of the fields.  Now that the heads are emerging, this estimate looks fairly accurate.  There are a few unfortunate exceptions with much more damage.  One lusher than average field in south-central Swisher County had 70 – 80% damaged primary heads in the low laying areas of the field and 30 – 40% in the higher elevated areas.  There are secondary heads available to this field and should help mitigate some of the yield loss associated with this freeze damage loss. 

                With the high and dry winds we have had, and no moisture, there are additional concerns about how much grain the plants can possibly be filling in those still healthy heads.  I did have the opportunity to pull some wheat heads from irrigated for grain fields this week.  I am finding decent dough filling in most seed sites.  I spoke to a producer who concurred with my beliefs.  We how much weight that seed will have to it is another question.  I would expect it to be fairly light given the conditions.

                For producers pushing wheat for grain yields, be on the lookout for wheat virus symptoms.  Once a wheat field is confirmed to have any of these viruses, yield potential drops rapidly, regardless of additional inputs.   I received the following today from Jacob Price, of the Texas A&M AgriLife Plant Pathology Lab in Amarillo:



Wheat Virus Early Detection Alert System Update- 14 May 2014

Jacob Price, Senior Research Associate

Plant Pathology- Texas AgriLife Research, Amarillo TX


The following wheat viral pathogens have been identified from samples collected at the following dates and counties:


Hill county, TX - Wheat streak mosaic virus 4/28/14

                              Triticum mosaic virus 4/28/14


Hale County, TX-  Wheat streak mosaic virus 4/28/14

                                Triticum mosaic virus 4/28/14


Dallam County, TX- Wheat streak mosaic virus 5/8/14


Haskell County, TX- Wheat streak mosaic virus 5/8/14

                                    Triticum mosaic virus 5/8/14

                                     High Plains virus 5/8/14


Symptoms of wheat viral diseases are found to be more severe during early season infections and although these plant samples were collected in late April and early May, initial virus infection likely occurred in the fall or early spring.  Wheat viruses are also found either signally or during co-infection with multiple viruses which also increases disease severity.  These pathogens can cause significant yield losses and producers in these areas are encouraged to scout their fields for symptoms of possible virus infection.  Early identification of these pathogens is important to help reduce losses due to infection.  For further information on wheat virus disease management and identification, including diagnostic sampling and submission, please visit the Plant Pathology Wheat Virus Early Detection System website or contact Jacob Price.


Jacob Price

Senior Research Associate

Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Amarillo, TX



Please call or come by if you have any questions,

Blayne Reed

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