There is no attack of yellow rust on wheat crop in Muktsar and Faridkot districts so far, but the agriculture department officials have been advising farmers to inspect the fields at least twice a week. However, there are reports of the disease in the Doaba region in Punjab and in Karnal in Haryana.
"So far, there is no report of yellow rust on wheat crop in the district and farmers need not spray any fungicides without the advice of experts. The wheat verities recommended by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), have enough resistance against the disease, but some farmers, who have grown the varieties of wheat which are not recommended by the agriculture department need to be extra cautious as some of those varieties are more prone to the disease," said Beant Singh, chief agriculture officer, Muktsar.
"If there is any attack of the disease, the farmers must inform the department before making use of any recommended fungicide," Beant Singh added.
"In some fields, leaves of the crop had turned pale only due to the continuous cold weather in the absence of sunlight for many days. The farmers should not take everything as yellow rust. Now, the weather conditions are also favourable for most of the crops and the farmers can expect good crop this year too," said Atma Singh Sidhu, chief agriculture officer, Faridkot.
"The farmers should also not spray any fungicides because they are useless and lead to pollution of environment. Most farmers do not regularly inspect their fields and overuse the chemicals. The agriculture department should also make farmers aware of futility of using unnecessary products as suggested by the agents of private companies. The companies, producing fungicides, make crores of rupees by selling fungicides because most of the farmers spray them without any requirement," said Arvinder Singh Chahal, a farmer from Wander Jatana village.
According to agriculture experts, farmers must pay attention to clear their fields of weeds though they have got late due to the foggy weather since last month." The farmers must spray herbicides if there are weeds in the wheat crop in days to come when sun shines if they have not sprayed one due to bad weather," said chief agriculture officer, Faridkot.
What is yellow rust?
Yellow rust or stripe rust is a fungal disease that attacks leaves of wheat plants resulting in yellow stripes on them. It affects the plant's photosynthesis activity, causing shrivelling of grain size and appears in foothill districts of Punjab first.
Director of agriculture Mangal Singh Sandhu could not be contacted despite repeated calls on his cell phone to seek his version if there was some attack of the disease in foothill districts of the state at such an early stage.