Monitoring with precision help raising disease free crops : Professor Jellis

February 6, 2009 LUDHIANA

Prof. Graham Jellis, Director Research and Development of UK based Home Grown Cereal Authority (HGCA), and President of the British Society of Plant Pathology (BSPP) while delivering a talk on "Developing an integrated programme for wheat disease control in the UK" said that monitoring the crops from their health point of view prove useful in effectively managing the diseases.

Introducing the mission of HGCA, Dr. Jellis said that it aims to improve production, wholesomeness and marketing of UK cereals and oilseeds so as to increase their competitiveness in UK and overseas in a sustainable manner. He provided an overview of the activities being undertaken by BSPP. He said that in UK cereals, beans, peas, corn and oilseeds are important crops where diseases induce economic losses requiring effective disease management strategies. In wheat, diseases like yellow rust, take all, fusarium, powdery mildew, eye spot and septoria blotch are important. Citing the example of septoria blotch, Dr. Jellis described it as a disease where fungicidal management was arduous and an integrated approach involving crop monitoring, disease resistance, information communication, etc. are being followed. 'Change the way, we control diseases' he said adding that devising sound strategies for efficient crop health care involving all possible options is the area of concern.

He said that under the aegis of HGCA, thrust is being laid on market information, research and development, market development and field experimentations. He said that the yield level achieved in wheat is around 4 ton per hectare wherein agronomy, plant breeding, weed management and disease control efforts play a significant role. Dr. Jellis talked of the incidence of mycotoxin problem in cereals that has adverse effects on human health. This has drawn attention of legislation in UK, said Dr. Jellis. He discussed the project partners of HGCA especially in the area of research on crop varieties where extensive scientific trials and analysis, pathological tests and partnership with industry are important. Dr. Jellis said that the information in the form of on-line disease management guides through crop monitoring, early warning of diseases/pest intelligence, decision support and partnership with industry have been made available for the benefit of the concerned.

The talk was arranged by the Indian Society of Plant Pathologists (INSOPP). The Dean, Postgraduate Studies, and former President of INSOPP, Dr. (Mrs.) S.K.Mann presided over the event. In her remarks, Dr. (Mrs.) Mann thanked Dr. Graham Jellis for an informative talk and appreciated the efforts being made by HGCA in transfer of important information to the farmers and scientists. The information especially on varietal management strategies is relevant to India, she said. She presented the speaker with a set of brochures on PAU. Dr. Jellis was honoured with the presentation of memento by the President of INSOPP, Dr. H.S.Rewal.

Later, interacting with the participants, Dr. Jellis said that market intelligence should have a scientific back up by experts. Responding to suggestions by Dr. (Mrs.) Mann, Dr.Jellis said that efforts will be made to hold a workshop at PAU on the issue of crop monitoring programme through the joint participation of British Society of Plant Pathology and INSOPP. Dr. Jagtar Singh Dhiman, Additional Director of Communication while proposing his vote of thanks said that for a scientific tie up between the two societies, hyper linking of their websites can be useful. Heads, faculty members and students from different departments attended the talk.