Wheat Crops Loose Smut Disease and their management

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Wheat Crops Loose Smut Disease and their management

Loose Smut:- It is caused by a fungus, Ustiloto tritici. Generally, diseased plants are indistinguishable from the healthy plants before heading, but diseased plans produce heads earlier than healthy plants. However, diseased plants of wheat variety Sonalika (RR-21) can be detected before ear emergence also by a characteristic streaking and yellowing of the flag leaf which starts drying from the tip and later becomes brownish in colour. Flag leaves of diseased plants of Sonalika can easily be seen in the field from a distance. Terminal symptom in all the varieties is the production of black powder in place of wheat grains in the almost every ear of the diseased plant. The black powder is blown to flowers of healthy plants, they infect the mature grain and remains dormant until germination. Infected grains cannot be distinguished superficially from the healthy ones. After wowing these grains, the fungus gets activated and grows inside the seed first behind the growing point, keeping pace with apex of the growing shoot. As the ear formation starts, there is an accumulation of the fungus in the floral parts, which get completely destroyed due to formation of the black powder.

Management: Among the present day varieties, PBW 502 is resistant while the others show various levels of susceptibility. For management of this disease, one spray of Propiconazole (Tilt 25EC@ 0.1 %) should be given at the time of anthesis. Integration of one spray of propiconazole with one spray of bioagent fungus, Trichoderma viride (0.4% suspension) gives almost cent per cent disease control. The bioagent spray should be done before earhead emergence, followed by the spray of chemical at start of earhead emergence. Two sprays of T. viride, at these two critical growth stages also give non chemical control of the disease which is almost similar to one spray of propiconazole. Chemical control should be adopted mostly in seed production plots.

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