Explained: What is yellow rust?

This word means: Yellow rust

Yellow Rust disease appears as yellow stripes of powder or dust on leaves and leaf sheaths of the wheat crop. This yellow powder comes out on clothing or fingers when touched.

Earlier this month, the Punjab Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department issued an advisory about Yellow Rust disease in wheat crops (The Indian Express, January 15), followed by a similar advisory from the Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR) after Yellow Rust was detected in wheat crops in parts of Punjab and Haryana.

Yellow Rust disease appears as yellow stripes of powder or dust on leaves and leaf sheaths of the wheat crop. This yellow powder comes out on clothing or fingers when touched. The disease can spread rapidly under congenial conditions and affects crop development, and eventually the yield.

As per Bayer Crop Science, yield due to the disease can affected by between 5 and 30 per cent. This occurs when the rust colonies in the leaves drain the carbohydrates from the plant and reduce the green leaf area. In India, it is a major disease in the Northern Hill Zone and the North-Western Plain Zone and spreads easily during the onset of cool weather and when wind conditions are favourable. Rain, dew and fog favour the disease’s development.

Last year, a new variety of wheat called HD-3226 or Pusa Yashasvi was released by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, which had higher levels of resistance against major rust fungi such as the yellow/stripe, brown/leaf and black/stem. According to the IIWBR advisory, if farmers observe yellow rust in patches in their wheat fields, they should spray fungicides.

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