Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is one of the major cereal crops vital for global food supply. Most of the wheat crop in developing world including that of Nepal is either grown with limited irrigation or under rainfed conditions and thus face moisture stress at one or more growth stages limiting grain yield. An experiment was carried out at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Rampur to evaluate the genetic variability of selected drought adaptive traits in Nepalese wheat germplasm. The wheat genotypes evaluated comprised of Nepalese landraces and commercial cultivars, CIMMYT (International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement) derived advanced introduction lines and three checks with differential drought adaptability. The wheat genotypes were grown in pots (single plant) arranged in a replicated split plot design in greenhouse under two contrasting moisture regimes, optimum and moisture stressed. The genotypes were evaluated for water use, water use efficiency, relative leaf water content and biomass production. The ANOVA (Analysis of Variance) revealed significant variation between environments and among the wheat genotypes for most of the traits studied. A wide range of variability was observed for water use, water use efficiency, biomass yield and relative leaf water content in moisture stressed and non-stressed environments. Nepalese cultivar Gautam showed a number of favorable drought adaptive traits, whereas, Bhrikuti was average in this respect. Based on the scores of drought adaptive traits recently released Cultivar (cv). Vijay was characterized as drought sensitive. A number of landraces and advanced breeding lines showed high level of water use efficiency and other positive traits for drought adaptation.
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The experience of seed system development works in Nepal shows that lack of business orientation is one of the key challenges for the growth of Nepalese seed enterprises (SEs). We implemented a business mentorship activity focusing on SEs in the project - Cereal System Initiative for South Asia. The business mentoring (BM) was implemented covering 10 SEs during 2014 to 2017 using discovery sensitization and facilitation mode. The key actions were, SWOT analysis, mentorship to develop strategic business plan, technical facilitation for seed quality improvement through maintenance breeding and on-farm farmer participatory trials as well as large plot demonstrations of recently released and pre-released wheat varieties. This resulted in 45% average increase in the volume of seed sold by individual SEs in three years. Five SEs started maintenance breeding in wheat and by third year, over 50% of the seed sold by the enterprises consisted of newly released varieties compared to 20% before mentoring. The improved performance of SEs prompted seed quality control authority of Nepal to issue a license to two of these private seed companies for maintenance breeding cum foundation seed production. As a consequence, foundation seed production of these entities increased by 60% in three years, and two of them have also started maintenance breeding in rice from 2017. The facilitation in developing business plan by SEs helped them to attract financial resources from different sources in upgrading seed processing, storage and laboratory facilities. Moreover, the National Wheat Research Program of Nepal has proposed the release of a new wheat variety BL 4341 through integration of on-farm trials and seed production data of these SEs. This new variety is resistant to major diseases, yields 7% higher than the popular cultivar NL 297 which was released 32 years ago and needed replacement due to susceptibility to wheat rusts
Rusts are one of major threats to reduce wheat production and productivity in Nepal. Rust fungi are obligate parasite survival during off-season either on voluntary wheat plants or other grass or timber plant species is not yet confirmed in Nepal. High-inputs, suitable hosts and existence of warm humid and cool high lands in different parts of country promote carryover of inoculums of rust fungi. Nepal could be potential sources of yellow rust and leaf rust epidemic for itself and for Indian sub-continent. Surveillance is one of important steps to know status of wheat diseases especially rusts occurrence in country. The SAARC rust tool box is systematic and regular monitoring activity of wheat and barley diseases conducted at various locations in Nepal. Altogether, 183 and 180 locations were surveyed in different parts of Nepal were put in global rust tool box server and validated in fiscal years 2014/15 and 2015/16. Wheat rusts disease scenario has been observed differently, it could be due to climate change and different virulent spectrum of races/pathotypes of rusts fungi and deployment of different wheat varieties. Yellow rust was widely occurred throughout mid hills in Nepal. Higher severity of yellow rust was observed in Kathmandu valley (80S -100S). Leaf rust was moderate to high (10MS-100S) in plain and hills. There was higher score of leaf rust observed in plain as well as in mid hills on susceptible wheat cultivar. Regular monitoring and surveillance at different locations in Nepal has been found helpful in digging out actual problems of wheat crop. Monitoring races of all three rusts occurring in Nepal is necessary for successful planning to manage rusts by deploying effective genes. Rust tool box is important to keep vigilance of new emerging rust races in country. This in turn could increase production and productivity of wheat in Nepal.
Conservation agricultural practices have been found to be climate and labor smart, and sustainable, agricultural production technologies. The decline in productivity, increase in the cost of cultivation, labor intensive practice affected the cereal based farming system in Nepal particularly at the Indo-Gangetic plains. SRFSI has been working in response to concerns about the sustainability of the cereal based farming system at Sunsari and Dhanusha district of Nepal. This study was conducted to assess the adoption and scaling up of conservation agriculture in addition to input usage, production, net profit, B:C ratio, labour use, etc. of CA practice in Sunsari district, eastern Indo-Gangetic plains of Nepal. The study employed structured questionnaires survey and key informant survey as the main data collection tools. Project reports were taken as secondary data. The primary data related for the semi-annual report and annual report of the SRFSI project were collected jointly by the DADO, Sunsari and RARST, Tarahara. Study revealed that farmers had several tangible advantages and getting higher productivity through these practices. This study assessed the potential of CA based practices in Rice-Wheat and Rice-Maize farming system to improve the yields, net profit for sustainability of the cereal based farming system.
Wheat contributes directly to food security and the national economy in Nepal. Of the rusts of wheat, stripe rust causes the most frequent and severe yield losses. Race changes can lead to damaging epidemics. To better understand factors that influence regional diversity of the stripe rust and stem rust pathogens, we surveyed rusts on barberry in 2012 and 2013. Nepal has a high diversity of barberry (30 species) and elevational habitats that extend the seasonal distributions of wheat and barberry. The greatest diversity occurs from 2,700 m and above, and distributions range from 1,200 to 4,500 m. We surveyed locations in all regions (central, eastern, western, and far-western) of the hill zone. Barberry was common between 1,300 and 1,800 m where wheat is grown. In the far-western region, barberry was found near all the wheat fields we surveyed. Between 1,300 and 1,800 m, Berberis asiatica is the most common species. B. aristata is present at the upper end of this range. Aecial infections on barberry occurred in patchy distributions in both 2012 and 2013. Collections of aecia on barberry were made at 5 locations and are being identified by inoculation studies using a range of grass hosts. Additionally, the rust samples are being evaluated by real-time PCR assays using species-specific ITS primer/probes for detection of Puccinia graminis or P. striiformis. Preliminary results for 32 single-aecia samples from 2012 were negative for P. graminis; 7 were positive for the P. striiformis complex.