Friday, March 28, 2014

NMSU experts expect little impact from chile-damaging virus this year

As chile production season approaches, three New Mexico State University professors say the danger of curly top virus is higher than last year but still low. "The prediction for this year is that it is going to be a low year for curly top," said Rebecca Creamer, professor of plant virology, who has been researching the virus since 2001. "We didn't have large amounts of fall rains, so it will be in the 1 to 5 percent range. Most growers will not have a major problem." This tri-trophic disease, which affects mostly chile plants in New Mexico, has required NMSU researchers in different disciplines to work together to investigate the different aspects and cycles of this disease, including the biology of the leafhopper, biology of weeds and virology. "We need an integrated approach to research this virus," Creamer said. "We have been trying to work out the parameters of where the insects are living and the ecology because that has a huge influence on the virus being transmitted." Curly top virus is transmitted from the tiny beet leafhopper insect, which feeds on weeds and certain crop plants such as chile and tomato, passing the disease from weeds to crops. The virus is a prevalent problem in arid regions such as California, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington and other places around the world including Mexico and Iran...more

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