Wheat is the most important source of protein, dietary fiber and different B vitamins. If 100gram wheat is consumed, it will provide 327 Kilocalories of energy to the body.
By Hamza Rafiq
Wheat is the staple food of Pakistan. Pakistan is placed at 8th position in top 10 wheat producing countries of the World. But along with this top production farmer faces many different issues which can be overcome by adapting good preventive measures. By overcoming these issues, we can increase the quality and quantity of wheat. Our main concern is to increase the quality of wheat because we must consume this whole year and for this purpose, we are going to discuss the quality improving parameters of wheat.
Main disease of wheat crop is rust fungus in Pakistan. Puccinia spp. are the infectious pathogens for rust. There are three type of rusts till now:
- Yellow rust or Stripe Rust
- Brown Rust or Leaf Rust
- Black rust or Stem Rust
Different pathogenic fungi of same genus cause three different type of rust infections. Food production of leaves decreases due to less green area of leaves. This pathogen cover leaves with thousand of small spores which reduce green area. It produces orange or yellow color pustules which have hundreds or thousands number of spores. It is very difficult to prevent main crop from its inoculum because the spores of Puccinia fungus are air borne and can travel many miles in the air. Its inoculum could arrive from any where from the world and cause disease.
The only effective method to prevent from rust diseases is to grow resistant varieties against rust because air borne pathogen could not be controlled by any cultural method. Resistance is available for this pathogen in different wheat varieties. But this resistance didn’t last long. Pathogen change its race and a new gene of infection break resistance. The most resistant varieties available this year are Akbar-19 and Seher because there is no report of resistant break in these varieties during 2019. Galaxy-13 is very susceptible to rust.
Using high level of organic matter in the field increases the wheat immunity against pathogens and plants will give MR (moderately Resistant) type reaction due to the application of organic matter because by applying organic matter plant roots could penetrate easier in the soil and plant could absorb more nutrients and response faster against pathogen than the plants grown in normal soil.
An effective method to control rust is application of fungicides. some effective fungicides are Tilt, Score and Nativo. The most appropriate time to apply any of these fungicides are tillering and flowering stage because mostly this is the time of pathogen maximum inoculum. Spraying at 5% disease infection reduce leaf and stripe rust.
Control of Smut and Bunted grains
There are some diseases on wheat crop which decreases the quality of floor produced by wheat grains. There are some bunt or smut diseases on wheat which decreases grain weight, change color and taste of flour. Smut and bunt are not the common diseases of wheat in Pakistan like rust but it is also a threat to flour quality.
The method to control these smut or bunt diseases are same because they are seed borne diseases. So, treat seed with any fungicide is the most effective method to control seed borne diseases. Dip seed in fungicide solution for 10-15 minutes and then dry them and then use it for sowing.
Another method to prevent use of bunted grains is to dip then in water having small amount of NaCl. By dipping them in this solution, bunted grains will float on water surface and then discard them and use the leftover by drying them in sunlight.
These are some of the important methods to prevent wheat diseases and to improve the quality of wheat grains and flour produced. Because consumer will buy only that thing which will be good in taste and attractive. So, those farmers who wanted to improve their profit and get the maximum potential of their sown variety can gert benefit from this article.