New wheat variety

Published: Sunday 15 June 2003

a recent development is bound to bring a smile on many faces. A high-yielding variety of wheat has been given the green signal for commercial cultivation in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Scientists from the New Delhi-based Indian Agricultural Research Institute (iari) have developed the new strain -- hd 2781. "It can withstand stress conditions such as high temperature and dry conditions, which characterise the drought-prone peninsular zone of the country," explains H B Chaudhary, one of the iari scientists.

A short winter season and high temperatures cause early maturity of the wheat plant in this region. As a result, the crop has lesser number of grains per ear and reduced biomass. The size of the grains is also small. During the three-year-long trials, the new strain gave around 14-16 per cent more yield than the best 'bread' wheat variety of the zone. It was found to be resistant to diseases such as the stem and leaf rust and foot rot. The new strain would even diversify the genetic base of the crop in the area.

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