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Bangladesh has developed a new variety of blast-resistant wheat

Bangladesh has developed a new variety of blast-resistant wheat
Wheat fields. File Photo

Scientists at the Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute claim that this new variety is 100% effective in preventing blast disease

Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute (BWMRI) has developed a new variety of blast-resistant wheat. The National Seed Board has already approved the variety. It has been named ‘WMRI Gum-3’. The seeds of this variety will be supplied to the farmers for cultivation from next year.

Wheat researchers at WMRI say the National Seed Board has so far approved two varieties of wheat ‘blast resistant’. Earlier, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) developed a variety of blast resistant wheat. In 2017, the National Seed Board approved the variety called ‘BARI Gum-33’ as a blast resistant variety. This variety is resistant to 90 to 95 percent blast disease. The newly invented WMRI Gum-3 variety is 99.50 to 100 percent resistant to blast disease.

Mr. Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Member Director (Seeds and Horticulture) of Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) is also a member of the National Seed Board. He said the WMRI Gum-3 variety has been approved as a blast resistant variety. The variety will come to the farmer level from next year.

According to BWMRI Research Center, this variety of high yielding wheat has been found by cross-breeding with four varieties of International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). It is resistant to wheat blast disease, leaf spot disease and rust disease and is heat tolerant. The variety is tolerant of adverse environment. Its lifespan is 108-114 days. The tree of the variety is hard, the stem is long and the number of grains per stalk is 48-54. Grain size is medium, color is glossy white and weight of thousand grains is 42-46 grams. The color of the plant is dark green. Yield per hectare is four to five metric tons in suitable environment.

The best time for sowing is between 15th to 30th November. However, as it is moderately heat tolerant, it can be sown between 5th and 10th December to get higher yield than other varieties. Research on the variety began in 2014. During the Rabi season, field research of the variety was done in 13 places of the country. The final field test of this variety of wheat is done at Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute Jessore Regional Center. Laboratory tests are conducted at the head office of Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute, Dinajpur and at the Seed Certification Agency, Gazipur. The 103rd meeting of the National Seed Board on September 8 last year gave final approval to this variety of wheat called ‘WMRI Gum-3’.

According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, in February 2016, there was an outbreak of blast disease in wheat in Jessore, Kushtia, Meherpur, Jhenaidah, Chuadanga, Barisal and Bhola. About 15,000 hectares of land in 7 districts were affected by the disease. This reduces the production of wheat by one-third. Farmers mainly cultivate BARI Gum-28 variety in large quantities. Blasts attack that variety of wheat in a large scale.

According to agriculture officials and farmers, wheat blast is a harmful fungal disease. Outbreaks appear to be exacerbated during the flowering period due to the emergence of wheat stalks in relatively hot and humid climates. Wheat stalks are mainly attacked by fungi. Black spots appear on the affected area. The upper part of the affected area becomes white. However, when attacked at the beginning of the stalk, the whole stalk dries and turns white. Infected grains become malnourished and wrinkled. The grains turn gray. Wheat leaves can also be attacked by this disease. In this case, the leaves have small gray spots like eyes.

Mr. Rabiul Islam, Senior Scientific Officer, Jessore Regional Center, said, “Wheat blast disease was very new in our country when it first appeared in 2016. The study was started after the disease appeared in wheat. Then a new blast disease resistant variety called BARI Gum-33 was invented. Following this, WMRI Gum-3 variety resistant to blast disease of wheat has been developed.

Mr. Md. Abdul Hakim, Chief Scientific Officer, Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute, Dinajpur, said that the newly developed variety has been approved by the National Seed Board as a ‘Blast Resistant’ variety. Breeder seeds will be given to BADC for base seed production this year.

Source: Online/GFMM

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