Current work on rusts, blight and blast on wheat in Bangladesh
The major diseases of wheat in Bangladesh are leaf blight and leaf rust. Yellow rust occurs occasionally with sporadic infection in the northern parts whereas stem rust was observed only in 2014. So far the country is free of Pgt race Ug99. Wheat blast, a devastating head disease, was first reported in 2016. Currently, about 65% of the wheat area in Bangladesh is covered by leaf rust resistant varieties and about 30% of the area is covered by Ug99 resistant varieties. Surveillance and monitoring of diseases is conducted regularly. In 2017, 102 sites were surveyed of which 52% had leaf rust infection. The data were uploaded to the Wheat Rust Tool Box. A separate surveillance and monitoring of wheat blast was conducted on 421 farmers? fields in 24 districts. Different levels of blast incidence were recorded in 77 fields. The Wheat Research Centre in Bangladesh works with CIMMYT and BGRI to develop high yielding rust resistant varieties. This includes screening for response to Ug99 at KALRO, Kenya. However, the current major concern of wheat is wheat blast. The popular variety BARI Gom 26 is highly susceptible to this disease and no current cultivar in Bangladesh carries an acceptable level of resistance to blast. During 2016-17, 20 varieties and advanced lines from Bangladesh and 80 from CIMMYT Mexico, were evaluated. One elite breeding line, BAW 1260, showed resistance (<10% severity) in multiple environment tests and is also resistant to leaf blight and stem rust. This line carries the 2NS translocation from Aegilops ventricosa and will be released soon for commercial cultivation. Pre-release seed multiplication is already underway for rapid dissemination. Among recently released wheat varieties BARI Gom 30 and BARI Gom 32 are moderately tolerant to blast and are being promoted for wider adoption by farmers.