Wheat is the major staple food in India and is a leading source of protein (13%) in human food. India is the second largest producer of wheat in the world after China. The wheat yield in India can be enhanced by minimizing the yield losses due to diseases. In recent years yellow rust of wheat has emerged as the major threat to the wheat crop. The stripe or yellow rust of wheat is the most important fungal disease in wheat crop.his disease affects the yield and quality of wheat crop.
The yellow rust has been reported from Arnia and some other areas of the RS Pura sector along the International Border, which is considered the grain bowl of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to news reports, yellow rust disease of wheat severely affects the entire Jammu regions viz. Reasi, Udhampur, Jammu, Kathua, Samba districts of J&K. KVKs of Jammu region are making strenuous efforts to manage this disease through awareness camps, farmers’ trainings, Kissan Gosthis, campaigns.
Yellow rust of wheat is caused by the fungus namely Puccinia striiformis sp. tritici. Symptoms appear as small, bright yellow pustules (uredia) closely arranged in rows, parallel to veins appear on upper surface of leaves and leaf sheaths. The yellow pustules are also developed on heads including awns.
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Yellow rust attacks leaves of the wheat crop, stopping their photosynthesis. The disease turn leaves black and rapidly spreads by transmission of spores through air. It has to be contained in the initial stages else it goes out of control.
Wheat is the only known host of P.strifformis sp. tritici. Since, only uredospores and teliospores are known to occur, it seems to be hemiform rust. The pathogen perpetuates through uredispores on volunteer self sown wheat at high altitudes. In India, the pathogen survives in Himalayan foothills in J&K., Punjab, H.P. and western U.P from there; the uredospores are blown to comparatively lower altitudes and finally reach to plains in the month of December-January to cause primary infection.
The yellow rust of wheat is best managed by use of resistant varieties of wheat. Fortunately, good numbers of rust-resistant varieties are available for different agro- climatic zones. Variety resistance is the most economical method to control yellow rust of wheat.
In organic fields this disease can be protected by the spray of fermented butter milk. Mentha (pudina) leaf dust can also be used to control this disease. This disease appears in circles in the field.
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According to news reports, 71,000 hectares in Jammu under wheat cultivation, about 8,000 hectares had been affected. In Kathua, about 269 hectares of the 41,000 hectares have been affected.
Yellow rust is caused by wind-borne urediospores of Puccinia striiformis. High humidity and low temperature provide the most favourable ground for the spread of the disease.