Current status of wheat rust and its management approaches in Nepal
Wheat is one of the three most important food crops of Nepal for which rusts (Puccinia triticina, P.striiformis and P.graminis) are major biotic stresses. Leaf rust is widespread and causes 14-20% yield losses and speculated that P.triticina over summer on self-sown wheat in hills of Nepal. Twenty two different pathotypes of P.triticina have been recorded while thirteen leaf rust resistant genes (Lr1, Lr3, Lr10, Lr13, Lr14a, Lr16, Lr17, Lr19, Lr23, Lr26, Lr27, Lr31 and Lr34) either singly or in combinations, impart resistance to wheat genotypes in Nepal. Yellow rust is also a major disease in mid and lower hills, river basin and valleys, causing 30-80 % grain yield losses. Twenty-nine pathotypes of P.striiformis have been recorded till now in Nepal while nine Yr genes (Yr2, Yr2 KSA, YrA, Yr6, Yr7, Yr9, Yr27, GA, and SU) have been postulated. Stem rust is a minor and sporadic disease in central, western, mid-western region late in the season. Nine Sr genes (Sr2, Sr5, Sr7b, Sr8, Sr8a, Sr9b, Sr11, Sr25 and Sr31) have been characterized. Vijay was the first Ug99 resistant wheat variety released for cultivation. Previous experiences show that Nepal served as a focal point of wheat rusts for further spread in the Gangetic plains of India due to presence of more than 25 species of Berberis in hills of Nepal. Efforts are underway to survey rusts infection on Berberis spp. Use of Tilt (Propiconazole), Triadimefon (Bayleton) and Indar (RH-124) was found effective to reduce leaf rust as well as foliar blight. Cultivation of resistant varieties in Nepal not only reduces rust severity in this country but also minimizes crop losses in other neighboring countries especially India. This demands the need for regional collaboration in South Asia to combat wheat rusts.