Chandigarh: The destroyer yellow rust, a fungal disease that wrecked havoc in Punjab a couple of years ago, has yet again spotted on wheat crop fields in four districts located in sub-mountainous areas of the state. The yellow rust has been found in small patches on wheat crop in different parts of Pathankot, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Hoshiarpur districts. The attack has been noticed in the HD 2967 verity of the wheat crop, sown by farmers of this region.
Agriculture Department sans fungicides for farmers
Punjab Agriculture Department, that used to supply propiconazol, a fungicide to the affected farmers on subsidised rates, is without the quota of fungicides this time. Sources the department disclosed that the agriculture officers have been regularity sending reports on yellow rust attack from across the state to the Director Agriculture apart from advising the affected farmers to spray propiconazol on their fields to prevent further spreading of the disease.
Gurwinder Singh, Deputy Director, Punjab Agriculture Department, admitted that the department has not got the propiconazol and other fungicides as of now. He also claimed that yellow rust attacks have been reported in different places in Pathankot, Hoshiarpur, Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib districts but in small patches. “It is an initial stage and there is no need to panic,” he said.
“The yellow rust attack was reported in Kiri village in Narot area in Pathankot, Kotli Khas, Haryatpur, Sardulgarh, Chakkiwal in Mukerian in Hoshiarpur, Nurpur Bedi in Ropar and some other villages in Fatehgarh Sahib,” he disclosed.
He, however, claimed that teams of department have been continuously monitoring the situation and giving tips to the farmers for its control. Agriculture experts say that the Yellow Rust is a fungal disease that turns crops leavers yellowish, stops photosynthesis in the plants and reduces the yield drastically. The fluctuating temperature is conducive for its development and attack. The winds help in spreading the disease to adjacent fields and areas, they claim.
A spray of propiconazol on wheat crops at early stage is beneficial for the yield even if there is no chance of yellow rust attack, another expert opines.
The affected farmers have been accusing the government for not providing the fungicide on controlled rates. To get rid of the disease, the farmers are forced to purchase the fungicides from open market where the shopkeepers are selling its on exorbitant rates, lamented Baldev Singh, an affected farmer of Hayatpur village.
“Last year the government provided propiconazol (1 lit) for Rs 330 while it was selling for Rs 1000 a litre in the open market. This time as the department is not providing fungicide, so the shoppers are selling it at much higher prices,” alleged Malkiat Singh of Kotli Khas village near Mukerain. Agriculture experts have also said that current weather conditions are congenial for spreading of the disease and it has the potential to spread from un-recommended varieties to even recommended varieties of wheat which could have adverse impact on overall yield.
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