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Wheat Fungus Found In Oregon Seeds

Sat., Dec. 7, 1996

A wheat fungus that has forced a quarantine of Arizona’s wheat crop might have been found in seed samples from Oregon, state and federal officials said Friday.

Testing of Oregon seed batches that were shipped to Arizona and California turned up signs of Karnal bunt, which can hurt wheat crops’ quantity and quality by reducing the weight of kernels and giving the grain a fishy odor.

However, state and federal officials said Oregon’s wheat growers shouldn’t hit the panic button at this point.

“It would be way premature to say we have a major problem in Oregon until we have an opportunity to complete our investigation,” said Larry Hawkins of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s regional office in Ontario, Calif.

Bruce Pokarney of the Oregon Department of Agriculture said although some Oregon seed batches that were recently tested in Arizona and California might have Karnal bunt, a larger sampling of wheat stored in elevators around Oregon turned up no signs of the disease.

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