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Native Plants and Crop Diseases

A new study proves that a common wheat virus can harm native grasses. With Agriculture and Food Research Initiative funding, researchers from Michigan State University, University of Kansas, and University of Virginia revealed the need for a better understanding of virus ecology to help protect native plants from crop diseases.

The findings were based on a multiyear field study in Kansas. There, as in much of the Midwest, plains of native grasses have been replaced with fields of wheat or other cereal crops.

The study focused on how barley yellow dwarf virus affects switchgrass, a prime candidate for biofuel research. The research team learned that the virus can reduce the strength of switchgrass by 30 percent.

Read more about the MSU study.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Plant health, production, and products;
Agriculture systems and technology;
Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment;
Agriculture economics and rural communities
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