Pest management research tries to address the problems in production agriculture. Wheat diseases have significant economical impact on producers. With funding from the South Dakota Wheat Commission and grants from federal programs, research projects address various aspects of important diseases with emphasis on sources and genetics of disease resistance, germplasm enhancement and cultivor improvements for disease resistance. Studies show that the wheat streak mosaic virus alone causes losses of 2.5 to 5 million bushels of winter wheat annually and greater losses in epidemic years.
An extremely successful research effort is exploring the fungal disease Fusarium head blight (commonly called scab). Scab has plagued wheat and barley production in many areas of the United States since the early 1990s, resulting in farm losses in at least 18 states valued conservatively at over $2 billion, according to university and industry estimates. The South Dakota Wheat Commission in conjunction with South Dakota State University are part of concerted national research initiative to solve scab in wheat and barley. The $4.3 million national research initiative began in 2000 fiscal year involving 73 scientists working on 104 projects, carried out in 23 states at 22 land grant universities and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, which helps fund the initiative. Comprehensive information on the national initiative can be found at www.scabusa.org
For more details on South Dakota Wheat Commission funded research projects in the pest management area, click on the project title.