Set your defense against barley yellow dwarf virus

Published on: 18:10PM Jun 15, 2010
Palle Pedersen
Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) can cause severe yield loss and reduced grain quality in small grains. As a virus, it can’t be controlled directly. However, it is transmitted entirely by aphids, and its presence depends completely on aphid activity.
Aphids contract the virus by feeding on infected plants, and they spread it as they feed on healthy plants. But because visible symptoms of BYDV don’t appear until aphids are gone, it is often misdiagnosed. Winterkill, stunting, yellow to red-purple leaf discoloration, curled leaves and small grain heads are all symptoms, and when associated with BYDV, they often appear in circular patterns because aphids typically move outward from a central spot.
The key to defending against BYDV is controlling aphids. Here are a couple options to consider:
  • Later fall planting dates – after the Hessian Fly free date – give aphids less time to transmit the virus before cold temperatures clear up aphid populations
  • A seed treatment insecticide with a systemic active ingredient protects plants from aphids from the start
  • To manage spring aphid pressure, a foliar insecticide treatment controls all types of aphids to prevent the spread of BYVD