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Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Ropar, in partnership with the Department of Plant Pathology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, organized a Farmer-Scientist Interaction program addressing “Integrated Management of Diseases of Rabi Crops, with Special Reference to Yellow Rust, Karnal Bunt of Wheat, and Late Blight of Potato and Tomato” on January 19, 2024, at KVK Ropar. The initiative, guided by Dr Satbir Singh, Deputy Director (Trg.) at KVK Ropar, witnessed the active participation of 45 farmers from various villages in the Ropar district.

D. Satbir Singh highlighted the challenges faced by potato growers in Ropar due to late blight disease this year. Emphasizing the significance of the Anandpur block as a hotspot for the initial development of yellow rust in wheat, routine surveillance programs and awareness campaigns are being undertaken to curb the spread of these diseases.

Dr Amarjit Singh, Principal Extension Scientist (Plant Pathology), provided comprehensive insights into disease management for rabi crops. He elaborated on symptoms and identification of various diseases, specifically focusing on yellow rust in wheat, stressing the importance of timely management to prevent substantial crop losses. Addressing late blight in potatoes, he urged farmers to sort out infected tubers, serving as primary inoculum and emphasizing healthy, disease-free tubers. Dr Singh also discussed the protective spray schedule for managing late blight of potatoes and introduced farmers to the web-based Decision Support System for effective disease management.

Another expert from the department, Dr Parminder Singh (Plant Pathologist), discussed wheat diseases and briefed farmers on the disease cycle of yellow rust surviving in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh during winters. He highlighted their occurrence in the sub-mountainous region of Punjab, serving as initial foci for disease spread in the rest of Punjab. Dr Singh also raised awareness about emerging problems in wheat, including powdery mildew and Fusarium head blight, urging farmers to conduct regular field surveys to monitor disease incidence.

The session provided a platform for farmers to share valuable insights based on their field experiences. Dr Sanjeev Ahuja, Associate Professor (Horticulture), concluded the programme.

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