Virus affecting southern Idaho wheat, barley

A virus is running rampant in winter wheat and barley crops between Parma and Ririe in eastern Idaho, according to a University of Idaho researcher.

U of I plant disease specialist Juliet Marshall reported high rates of barley yellow dwarf virus, whichreduces crop yields, test weights and plump. The disease can render winter wheat only suitable for livestock feed. In most areas, 85 to 95 percent of winter wheat fields are showing infection, according to Marshall.

Some growers are killing infected fields before plowing and reseeding with spring grains or dry beans.

An early spring made disease symptoms apparent three or four weeks earlier than usual.