Russian wheat aphids hoping to feed and live comfortably on barley plants could be in for a big disappointment. That's if they choose to attack a new kind of barley known as RWA-1758, which is highly resistant to the insect pest. Agricultural Research Service plant geneticist Phil Bregitzer led the team that invested more than 10 years in developing and testing this superior barley.
RWA-1758 offers barley growers in places like Montana, Colorado, and Nebraska-where infestations of the insect can be severe-an effective, economical and environmentally sound way to quell the aphid. Cost-effective chemical controls aren't available for combating the insect, according to Bregitzer. He's based at the ARS Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit in Aberdeen, Idaho.
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