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Punjab battles yellow rust disease in wheat

Yellow rust is a fungal disease which turns crop’s leaves yellowish and stops photosynthesis.

Yellow rust is a fungal disease which turns crop’s leaves yellowish and stops photosynthesis.  

Yellow rust is a fungal disease which turns crop’s leaves yellowish and stops photosynthesis activity

With incidence of yellow rust disease spotted on the wheat crop in parts of Punjab, the Agriculture Department is leaving nothing to chance to ensure the spread of disease doesn’t go beyond control.

Punjab government and the agriculture department had faced the wrath of farmers over the cotton crop failure during the Kharif season this year and hence, the agriculture officials are already in fields suggesting remedial measures.

“We have received reports of yellow rust on wheat crop in few villages of Ropar and Anandpur Sahib districts. It is in a very limited area that crop has been affected as of now, but we are not taking any chances and our team of experts have reached the fields to monitor the situation,” Gurdial Singh, Director, Punjab Agriculture department told The Hindu .

Yellow rust is a fungal disease which turns crop’s leaves yellowish and stops the photosynthesis. Though the disease has recurred over the years in the HD 2967 variety of wheat, farmers in Punjab have sown this variety in over 75 per cent of the total sown area this season over 35 lakh hectare. “Farmers in Punjab predominantly go for HD 2967 variety of wheat as it’s a high yielding variety,” senior agriculture expert and Punjab State Farmers Commission adviser P.S. Rangi told The Hindu .

He said: “Yellow rust can not be ignored as it can spread quickly and can cause severe losses in crop yield, if not checked in time. However, at this stage it’s not threatening.” Notably, this is not the first occasion when the wheat crop in parts of Punjab has been attacked by yellow rust with the sub-mountainous districts of the State affected last.

Advised diversification

To pre-empt the occurrence of the disease, based on previous years experiences, experts and scientists from the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) had already asked farmers to diversify from HD 2967. PAU experts had advised farmers to adopt new varieties especially PBW 677, HD 3086 and WH 1105 for cultivation under irrigated timely sown conditions. Also, agri- scientists have been suggesting farmers to avoid risks associated with mono-culture and asking them to grow more than one variety in their field.

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