Yellow rust is a fungal disease found in areas of Northern hill zone and north-western plain zone of India in wheat crop. There ia a raised concern among the farmers of Punjab and Haryana as this disease was detected in some parts of the two states. The yellow rust is harmful because it stops the activity of photosynthesis in plants as they take away the carbohydrates and reduces green leaf area,finally leading to reduced crop productivity.
Wheat being a winter rabi crop, is susceptible to the development of yellow rust due the presence of favourable conditions for the growth of the fungi. Some of such conditions are-
1.Presence of cool weather conditions
2.Rain,dew and fog also favours disease development
3.Low temperatures ( 7-15degree celcius)
The disease has developed in Punjab and Haryana due to recent rains that raised temperature from their average temperature of 1.6-3 degree Celsius.
The yellow rust disease is an air-borne disease that spread through wind as the yellow stripes are in a form of powder and dust which is very light in weight and can be easily carried by air to other parts of the crop.
According to the advisory issued by the Punjab Agriculture & Farmers Welfare department , the present situation is not severe and alarming as it is spotted in very limited area. Futher the Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR) says that though the situation is not alarming it cannot be undermined as it can cause severe losses if not checked in time.
Bayer Crop Science explained in its statement that depending upon the susceptibility of the variety and amount of disease ,the yield due to the disease can be affected by 5-30%.
Steps taken by the government:
The government has sent expert teams to moniter the situation
1.In order to control the situation ,a constant vigil is being conducted and are issuing advisories to the farmers to use remedial measures
2.IIWBR said in a report that the spread of the yellow rust disease can be controlled by spraying fungicides and insecticides
3.Government had encouraged the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in developing a new variety of wheat called HD-3226 or Pusa Yashasvi with higher levels resistance against major rust fungi including yellow rust
Farmers are advised by the government to use Macro Management Mode of Agriculture to support wheat cultivation
Measures to be taken
Though the government has come up with several measures to protect the farmers crop from yellow rust , the following actions must also be included in their agenda-
1. It is necessary to provide technical assistance to the farmers to cope up with the disease
2.Farmers have to be sensitised regarding the disease by conducting workshops and by raising awareness
3.Over use of fungicides and pesticides can cause contamination of groundwater,and other . Hence precise use of pesticides is necessary
4.Adoption of cost effective optical divise an US technology for auto – detection of diseases at an early stage
Along with the above measures ,the disease can be controlled by avoiding very early planting ,reducing water usage as dew and fog are the factors that favours yellow rust growth. Identification and determination of severity of yellow rust can help in taking immediate actions to control it’s spread.