Wheat stem sawfly devastations lead to another conference
A keynote speaker will be Marie-Claude Bon from the European Biological Control Laboratory in France. She will speak from 1:30 to 2 p.m. April 3 on genetic variation among wheat stem sawfly populations.
Genetic variation is probably one reason that wheat stem sawflies are so persistent and intractable in Montana, Weaver said. Compared to other areas of the northern Great Plains, the genetic diversity of wheat stem sawflies in Montana is much greater. Bon will discuss this variation and its implications.
Another reason that wheat stem sawflies are a problem is because they have not yet been managed using any known insecticides, Weaver said. As a result, researchers are continually testing new insecticides and investigating other options, including the exploration of newly discovered genetic traits in existing wheat germ plasm that provide additional resistance.
The Wheat Stem Sawfly Conference is held every two years, with the 2012 conference also held at MSU. Since beginning in 2003, the conference has been held in Bozeman three times and has been part of past Pacific Branch-Entomological Society of America and Entomological Society of Canada meetings. The conferences draw scientists, members of the agribusiness community, agricultural leaders and wheat growers.
"Agricultural research has had these wonderful and highly supportive relationships with wheat growers in the state," Weaver said. "They are very interested in attending these presentations to find out more about the wheat stem sawfly research that is being conducted."
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