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Across the country, ARS scientists who work with wheat aim to make U.S. grown grain better all the time. Techniques for successfully slipping new genes into crops like tomatoes or petunias typically don't work on wheat. One variety of wheat alone accounts for most of the soft red winter wheat that's grown in the Eastern U.S. because it stands up to wheat's most destructive disease, leaf rust. Other varieties resist the Hessian fly and cereal leaf beetle, two costly insect pests. This wheat-breeding program is conducted in cooperation with Purdue and Kansas State Universities. Growers can increase their expertise, thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) development of a computer program called MoreCrop. At the touch of a few buttons, a grower can get customized advice on diseases to watch out for and treatments that are appropriate to specific conditions. USDA photo by Scott Bauer.

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Taken on February 7, 2013