My Zimbio
Top Stories

Monday, December 13, 2010

40,000 Acres of Wheat in Oregon Mysteriously Turn Yellow or Purple and Wither; Investigators Baffled

Investigators baffled as wheat fields wither

"Most of the symptoms in Morrow County (and Umatilla County)
are unlike anything I have ever seen. This does appear to be a new problem -
a problem that no one seems to have experience with."
- OSU Morrow County Extension Associate Professor Larry Lutcher, Ph.D.

Morrow and Umatilla Counties (yellow) west and north
of Pendleton in northeastern Oregon. Map by Alan Kenaga, Capital Press.

To the west and north of Pendleton in northeastern Oregon are Morrow and Umatilla Counties. Wheat farmers there predominately planted soft white Clearfield wheat variety ORCF-102 and a few other varieties. But by November 2010, most of the wheat tips in sixteen fields covering 40,000 acres had turned a strange yellow or purple and have withered away. Agriculture experts from Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Agriculture don't have answers yet. And no one knows until there are answers if frustrated farmers should replant all the fields.  
Linda Moulton Howe

Mysterious yellowing affects 40,000 acres of Eastern Oregon; new problem feared

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon State University are investigating the yellowing of upward of 40,000 acres of wheat in Umatilla and Morrow counties.

So far, the cause is a mystery, and researchers do not know if the problems in the two counties are related.
In early November, Umatilla County growers noticed wheat fields turning yellow and dying, OSU Extension soil scientist Don Wysocki said.

Sixteen fields from three to 10 miles northwest of Pendleton were affected, Wysocki said. They are "more or less but not completely contiguous," he said. Not every field in the area was affected.

The area was predominately planted to soft white Clearfield variety ORCF-102, but other varieties were also affected, Wysocki said.

"There's probably more than one thing going on in these particular fields, like in any field," he said.

OSU Morrow County Extension associate professor Larry Lutcher said 30,000 to 40,000 acres of wheat in his county have plants with yellow or purple tips. The discoloration spreads inward and downward on the leaf. In some cases, plants are completely desiccated and will not recover.

The symptoms have been observed in many fields in the county, Lutcher said, but do not appear tied to any particular location.

"Most of the symptoms in Morrow County are unlike anything I have ever seen," Lutcher said.
Lutcher said he doesn't believe the problem will spread to other fields, but he can't be certain.
"This does appear to be a new problem -- a problem that no one seems to have experience with," he said.

Neither Lutcher nor Wysocki were sure if the circumstances in the two counties were connected.

"The big question on everyone's mind right now is, how will the crop look this spring and will replanting be necessary?" Lutcher said.

Oregon Department of Agriculture Special Assistant to the Director Brent Searle said the department was contacted by farmers in early November.

The department sampled and tested the fields, but final results are not yet in.

Preliminary samples showed some root pathogen issues, but Searle said the investigation is still in the information-gathering stage.

The department and university sent surveys to growers asking about field history, planting dates, chemical use and where seed was purchased. OSU also examined nearby fallow land to see if it was similarly impacted.
The information may help identify common factors or patterns, Searle and Wysocki said.

In Umatilla County, the patterns are oriented across the fields, with "shadow effects" suggesting protection in areas behind slopes or fence rows, Wysocki said.

But the patterns of the die-off aren't typical of anything anyone has seen before, Searle said.

"The weather's been really weird this year and there was a tight planting window, and then temperature swings and rains and the grain jumped real fast in growth," he said. "It could be a whole combination, perfect storm kind of thing. We're just trying to sort it all out right now."

Most growers in Umatilla County were replanting their fields, Searle and Wysocki said.

Replanted acres aren't expected to have a problem, Wysocki said, "but we can't rule that out."


Any farmers out there that can give us an estimate of just how much 40 to 60 
thousand acres of wheat would produce in terms of loaves of bread?

10 million loaves, 100 million loaves, 1 billion loaves?

How will this loss cascade through the system, affecting the price of everything from 
dog food to cake mix?
Wake Up, Stay Informed, & Wake Up Someone Else.

Grow your own vegetables  -  patio, indoors, yard - start preparing NOW!
 Please buy this Easy Program from Roy and Dee

No comments:

Post a Comment

10 Day Weight Loss Pills

Popular Posts



Curious about what the future holds? Click here to find out how you can receive a 10 minute psychic reading from Psychic Source. - The Best Free Online CalculatorŠ½

Fine Art - Painting Lessons: Real Art!
What is Bio-Farming? Can anyone do it?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

My Zimbio
Top Stories
My Zimbio
Top Stories Get 100 FREE Visitors to Your Website!
eXTReMe Tracker
AyurCat for Cat Health Care