Alabama cotton farmers may be affected by new virus

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama cotton farmers will face threats to their crops this year in the form of a new virus with no known cure.

News outlets report the cotton leafroll dwarf virus is a new strain of cotton blue disease.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System says the virus is transmitted by aphids and diminishes blooms and bolls in the upper canopy, resulting in lower yields, mainly in late-planted cotton.

The new strain was discovered in Alabama in 2017 but has been observed in Brazil in 2006. It has since been confirmed in Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi.

The virus reduced cotton yields by nearly 50,000 bales in 2018.

Alabama Farmers Federation’s Carla Hornady symptoms include red leaf veins, cupped leaves and sterility.

Hornady says it will likely take years to develop new resistant cotton cultivars.

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