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Wheat goes High-Tech - Nebraska develops disease-fighting variety

Wheat goes High-Tech - Nebraska develops disease-fighting variety

By Jamie Martin

In response to a surge in fusarium head blight threatening Nebraska's wheat fields, University of Nebraska–Lincoln introduces NE Prism CLP. Developed by researchers Katherine Frels and Stephen Wegulo, this variety boasts resistance to the fungal disease, offering hope to farmers in the Panhandle region.

Fusarium head blight, also known as scab, wreaks havoc on wheat crops, reducing yields and contaminating grains with harmful mycotoxins. Typically rare in western Nebraska due to low rainfall, 2023's abnormal weather conditions triggered an outbreak, catching farmers off guard.

The introduction of NE Prism CLP provides a crucial defense against this threat. Alongside genetic resistance, timely fungicide application remains vital. The university's efforts, supported by federal funding from the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative, demonstrate a commitment to agricultural innovation.

Research by Wegulo highlights the impact of climate change on disease prevalence. As precipitation patterns shift, fusarium head blight becomes a growing concern in traditionally unaffected areas. Presenting findings at an international conference, Wegulo underscores the need for proactive measures in agriculture.

Farmers can access tools like online fusarium risk assessment to monitor conditions and make informed decisions. Through collaborative efforts and ongoing research, Nebraska's agricultural community prepares for future challenges, ensuring the resilience and productivity of its wheat industry.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-ygrek

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