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YELLOW RUST-A Serious threat to Wheat Cultivation in Punjab
26 Sep 2014

Yellow rust has become a big problem for wheat cultivation in Punjab. This disease can cause yield losses up to 70 per cent depending upon resistance of cultivar and severity of disease. It starts appearing in the month of December and January on wheat crop sown in sub-mountain areas of Punjab. If fungicides are not sprayed well in time, there could be a heavy loss in yield. Therefore, farmers should cultivate wheat varieties which could resist the attack of yellow rust and there is no need to spray fungicides to manage it. It has been observed during previous years, that there was a serious attack of yellow rust on wheat varieties namely, PBW 343, DBW 17, HD 2733, HD 2932 and WH 711. Therefore, these varieties should not be grown especially in sub-mountainous areas of Punjab. Last year, many farmers had shown a great interest in cultivating wheat variety HD 2967 on a large area in Punjab as this variety was able to resist the attack of yellow rust disease at the time when it was released.  However, yellow rust did not spare even this variety. If farmers had not sprayed fungicides well in time, there could have been a big loss in wheat production.

Recently, two varieties of wheat namely, WH 1105 and HD 3086 were identified for North West Plain Zones of India. Punjab Agricultural University conducted adaptive trials in different parts of Punjab as well as at experimental fields of the campus. It has been observed that WH 1105 variety remained free from yellow rust and there was no need to spray any fungicide.  As compared to this variety, leaves of variety HD 3086 started appearing yellow in the month of January which were confused with yellow rust. Besides this, we have to face one more problem in the first week of March. It was observed that yellow rust attacked ears of wheat which resulted in shriveling of grains. When this variety was monitored in different parts of Punjab, there was a severe attack of leaf blight also only on this variety. Due to these three reasons, Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana has not recommended HD 3086 for cultivation in  Punjab.

Farmers are advised that they should grow only those varieties which can resist the attack of yellow rust. This is the only best and safe way to manage this disease. They should also monitor wheat crop in the month of December-January for yellow rust and manage this disease as soon as it appears in the field.