Idaho Ag Epidemic Alert: Major Disease Threat to Wheat and Barley

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Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus
  • Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus
The University of Idaho issued a sobering report Wednesday concerning a severe virus infection impacting Idaho wheat and barley crops in Southern Idaho. In fact, U of I cereal pathologist Juliet Marshall said the barley yellow dwarf virus, which she characterized as a "major disease" was "rampant from Parma to Ririe." 

Marshall said the first symptoms of the viral disease began showing up in fields in early March, triggering a formal warning to farmers on March 27. She added that many areas she visited in southern Idaho showed 85- to 95 percent of viral infection. As a result, some wheat growers are facing a worst-case scenario since infected winter wheat is that grain's biggest segment. 

Simply put, Marshall said, Idaho growers are "facing very tough agronomic and financial decisions."