Kansas State University officials are joining in on a group effort to help Kansas farmers stop the spread of destructive wheat disease that took a strong foothold in the state’s fields this year.

Wheat Streak mosaic is a plant pathogen carried by the wheat curl mite. The virus stunts the growth of wheat and related plants. These mites often live on volunteer wheat, that comes up after the year’s harvest. Officials tend to agree that there are only three ways to control the spread of wheat streak mosaic virus: 1. Remove volunteer wheat and other grassy weeds 2. Avoid early planting and 3. Plant varieties with resistance to the virus. “An individual grower can do a lot of things right, but if their neighbors do not follow the best practices for controlling the volunteer wheat, it can really nullify a lot of their individual’s activities” says KSU wheat disease specialist Erick De Wolf. We need to have the volunteer wheat killed before 3 to 4 weeks prior to planting. If using a herbicide, volunteer wheat should be dead for at least two weeks before farmers plant their 2018 crop.

If you need more information, please contact Shad Marston K-State Research and Extension, Ag Agent for McPherson County at the Extension office at 620-241-1523.