A spell of rain during the last few days has caused yellow rust in about 1,000 acre under wheat cultivation in Yamunanagar district.
Scientists have termed it as the worst attack of the fungal disease in the north India in the present rabi season.
Yellow rust is a fungal disease that attacks leaves of wheat crop by forming yellow stripes and affects the photosynthesis process, which, in turn, leads to withering of grain size. “Vast tracts of fully grown wheat crop in Sadhaura and Jagadhri blocks have been affected by yellow rust severely,” said Indu Sharma, director, Directorate of Wheat Research (DWR), Karnal. The DWR, an important constituent of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), is the nodal agency for wheat research activities in the country.
“It is feared that the there may be a loss of more than 60% yield. Yellow rust has struck areas of Punjab, including Nawanshaher, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Hoshiarpur, Patiala and Ludhiana, but Yamunanagar remains the worst affected,” said Sharma, who along with other DWR scientists visited the affected areas on Wednesday.
She blamed farmers for the losses. “The fungal disease has set in because farmers had sown non-recommended varieties of wheat. As a result, the disease may affect recommended varieties sown in adjoining fields, as spores travel with wind,” Sharma said.
On the basis of information furnished by affected farmers, the DWR director said non-recommended varieties such as WH 711, HD 2851, Super 12 and Raj 3765 were sown.
“We have advised farmers to start spraying fungicides to combat losses. As wheat is ready for harvest in 21 days, farmers are advised to start spraying to arrest the spread of disease in the adjoining areas,” she said. Farmers have been advised to drain out water from fields.
“In spite of awareness campaigns, farmers are still unaware about the right kind of varieties. The recommended varieties that are resistant to yellow rust are HD 2967, DPW 62150, DBW 550 and DBW 17,” Sharma added.