Developing rust resistant bread wheat genotypes for warmer areas in India
The changing climatic conditions are affecting wheat production in major agro-ecological zones in India, namely, north western plains(NWPZ), north eastern plains(NEPZ), central (CZ) and peninsular zone(PZ) where the reproductive phase has to endure higher temperatures. Also, the prevalence and virulence of rust pathotypes and other diseases are affected. To address such challenges, development of wheat for climate resilience was initiated following shuttle breeding approach for incorporating heat stress tolerance as well as resistance to wheat rusts. During 2010-16, a total of 583 elite lines were evaluated against prevalent pathotypes of stripe rust 78S84, 110S119, 110S84 and 46S119; leaf rust 12-2(1R5), 12-5(29R45), 77-2(109R31-1), 77-5(121R63-1), 77-9(121R60-1) and 104-2 (21R55) and stem rust 11(79G31), 40A(62G29), 42(19G35), 122(7G11) and 117-6(37G19) of which 108 promising entries were identified. These lines were evaluated for disease response in multilocational Initial Plant Pathological Screening Nursery (IPPSN) against prevalent races of all three rusts. Based on average coefficient of infection (15.0 ACI), 42 (39%), 104 (96%) and 90(83%) entries were found resistant to different races of stripe, leaf and stem rusts, respectively. Based on performance in multiplication yield trials, 29 entries were contributed in national coordinated evaluation system on Wheat & Barley which resulted in release of four wheat cultivars DBW71(Yr9+27+,Lr26+,Sr2+5+31+), DBW107(Yr9+,Lr26+3+,Sr31+), DBW110(Yr2+, Lr13+10+,Sr13+11+) and DBW93(Yr9+, Lr26+23+, Sr31+) for commercial cultivation in NWPZ, NEPZ, CZ and PZ, respectively. These cultivars are becoming popular among farmers due to their yield advantage, resistance to diseases, tolerance to high temperature and better quality traits. Also, DBW 129 was screened in multiple disease screening nursery (MDSN) and observed resistant to all rusts, leaf blight, powdery mildew, flag smut and shoot fly. The adoption of the newly developed cultivars for deployment of differential genes for resistance would lead to reduction in disease pressure and bring higher profitability to farmers in different agro-ecological zones in India.