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Wheat fields mysteriously withering

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High Five
Friday, December 03, 2010

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

So far, the cause is a mystery, and experts don't know if the two instances are related.

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.

Read more at Capital Press.

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