In the first such instance this rabi season, attack of fungal disease 'yellow rust' on wheat crop has been witnessed in Dhuri area of Sangrur district.
The district agriculture department has swung into action, and chief agriculture officer Rajinder Singh Sohi along with pathologist Gurvir Kaur and deputy director Mandeep Singh, visited the affected fields in Punniwal village. And the good news is that the attack has been reported in only 4-5 fields that have HD 2932 variety of wheat, which is grown on only 1.62% of the 2.85 lakh hectares under wheat cultivation in Punjab. “Farmers have bought these seeds from some other places as the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is yet to test this variety,” Sohi said.
In the plains, HD 2932 is the most prone to fungal diseases. “That is why the agriculture department insists that farmers sow only those seeds which are recommended by the PAU,” added Sohi.
Further, the department has urged farmers not to make haphazard use of insecticides without any proper knowledge. “We have asked the affected farmers to immediate spray tilt besides continuously keeping a close watch to protect their crops against yellow rust,” he said.
Yellow rust is a fungal disease, which causes leaves to become yellowish and powdery, and generally spreads through the winds coming from sub-mountainous areas.
Recently, Rupnagar, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur areas witnessed yellow rust at many places.
Sohi said that though attacks of fungal diseases have hardly been seen in Sangrur district in recent years, the dip in mercury and the cold breeze might be possible reasons behind the yellow rust in Dhuri.
“Rainfall and rise in temperature in the coming days will help farmers to protect their crops from such disease. Moreover, teams of officials including technical and agriculture officers have been instituted at the block level to keep a close watch,” Sohi added.