The paddy variety, 'PR118', developed by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), has carved a special niche for itself in the areas where the quality of ground water is poor. The variety has proved a boon for the farmers of Sangrur, Mansa and Bathinda districts.
Highlighting the characteristics of the variety, head, department of plant breeding and genetics, RK Ghumber, said that paddy area under the variety 'PR118' had almost doubled during the last one year. In Bathinda and Mansa districts, this variety occupied around 60% of the total area sown under paddy, he said.
He said that variety is resistant to most of the pathotypes of bacterial blight disease. Farmers from across the state are buying this variety at kisan melas organised by PAU, he added.
Senior rice-breeder, PAU, GS Mangat, said that in PAU, the research efforts were initiated to improve the Pusa 44 rice variety (sensitive to salinity and bacterial blight) in the year 1993. "In the short span of five years, several improved rice genotypes were developed and were tested in multilocation yield trials at PAU and its research stations at Kapurthala, Patiala and Gurdaspur," he said.
"As a result of these trials, the variety "PR118" was identified as promising and was approved for release by the state varietal approval committee in the year 2003," he said. He highlighted that in the research and adaptive trials conducted at the farmers' fields, PR118 gave 3% higher yield than Pusa 44.
PAU experts disclosed that the said variety of paddy is being cultivated over 28 lakh hectare area in Punjab, with an expected production of nearly 10 lakh tonnes.