Researchers at the Northwestern Agricultural Research Center in Creston, Montana have reportedly developed a wheat variety that is resistant to wheat midge – a mosquito-sized, orange insect that feeds on wheat kernels and has caused millions of dollars in damage after years of attacking Montana’s billion-dollar wheat industry. The variety has been named “Egan” after Egan Slough, the site of the first outbreak.
The resistance gene has proven to be highly effective, resulting in the near complete mortality of the wheat midge and its larvae, and will be available for purchase by farmers in 2016.
The Creston facility, which operates as part of the Montana State University’s agricultural program, and where the variety was developed, is one of seven such agricultural research centers across Montana. “These agricultural research centers were established to discover new knowledge and better products,” MSU President Waded Cruzado said. “These centers are at the forefront of innovation and solving the problems of agriculture.”
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