Turnip Yellows Virus (TuYV) – originally thought to be insignificant, this virus is now spreading at lightning speed across Europe’s oilseed rape fields, reports German plant breeding company Deutsche Saatveredelung AG (DSV). Transmitted by aphids, the virus causes damage to plants that is difficult to detect and results in yield losses of up to 30%. The only effective measure is to grow

According to a report recently published by the well-respected plant breeder and distributor of oilseed rape seed Deutsche Saatveredelung AG (DSV), a virus which is becoming increasingly widespread in the oilseed rape growing regions of Europe poses a major threat to oilseed rape yields. Studies have shown that yield losses of up to 30% can be expected. In addition to the direct impact on yield, infection with Turnip Yellows Virus (TuYV) also reduces the crop’s thousand-seed weight and oil content. The risk, and the uncertainty, is that the damage often goes unnoticed or is easily mistaken for nutrient deficiencies and abiotic stress. Furthermore, the greater the impact of stress factors such as drought, frost or high temperatures, the greater the impact of the disease.

How Is The Virus Transmitted?

The Turnip Yellows Virus (TuYV), a member of the Luteoviridae family, is transmitted by the peach-potato aphid and the cabbage aphid. It can be hosted by several other plant species in addition to oilseed rape, which facilitates its ability to spread on a massive scale. The Europe-wide ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments, restrictions on the use of insecticides and the warming climate have also fuelled the aphids’ spread. At the same time, insecticide resistance among aphid populations is on the rise.

What Can Be Done?

The only effective means of combating TuYV is to grow resistant varieties. After years of searching, the plant breeders finally discovered a resistance to the virus in early 2000. But according to the DSV, it then took several more years of breeding work before they were able to incorporate the resistance into marketable varieties. DSV is at the forefront of oilseed rape breeding expertise in Europe. With more than 40 years’ experience in the field, the company has a reputation for breeding healthy, vigorous oilseed rape varieties.

TuYV-resistant DSV varieties grow away rapidly in autumn and are resistant to abiotic stress. Outstanding resistance to phoma stem canker, good lodging resistance, a high oil content and a high seed yield ensure that the performance of these varieties on paper is matched in the field.