Fungal disease ‘yellow rust’ hits wheat crops as rain lashes Punjab

With rains continuing to lash Punjab for the third day, farm experts Saturday asked wheat growers to guard their crop against fungal diseases like Yellow Rust and Karnal Bunt. The state director of Agriculture, Dr Mangal Singh Sandhu, said that farmers have been advised to start using fungicidal sprays to stop the spread of yellow rust, which can be expedited due to the inclement weather.

Yellow rust is a fungal disease which attacks leaves of wheat crop by forming yellow stripes and affects their photosynthesis that causes shrivelling of grain size. Meanwhile, Karnal Bunt is a fungal disease and turns some part of wheat grain blackish and brittle.

Dr Sandhu said: "The farmers who have sown un-recommended varieties of wheat are responsible for this disease and now it is affecting even the recommended varieties as the spores travel with increased wind."

Currently, yellow rust disease has struck large parts of Nawanshaher, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Hoshairpur, Patiala, Ludhiana and Ferozepur.

Meanwhile, Dr Sandhu also observed that as per figures of the agriculture department, the area of land under wheat cultivation decreased from 35 lakh hectare in 2012 to 32.5 lakh hectare this year.

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