Suraj Gurung, Ram C. Sharma, Etienne Duveiller and Sundar M. Shrestha
In South Asia, foliar blight of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is a disease complex caused by Cochliobolus sativus (the spot blotch pathogen) and Pyrenophora tritici-repentis (the tan spot pathogen) which can reduce yields by >30 %. Little is known about the effects of wheat genotypes and their planting time on foliar blight epidemics. Field experiments were conducted to determine the infection potential and epidemic development of C. sativus and P. tritici-repentis on two susceptible (Sonalika and BL1473) and two tolerant (NL750 and Milan/Shanghai-7) wheat genotypes under optimum (November 26) and late (December 11 and December 26) planting conditions. The dynamics of airborne conidia were studied using air samplers. The highest aerial concentrations of conidia and disease incidence of both pathogens on all four wheat genotypes were detected during the first 3 weeks of March under both optimum and late seeding conditions in both years. Compared to optimum sowing time (i.e. November 26), wheat genotypes had higher disease severity when planted late on December 11 and 26. The disease complex reduced grain yield by 20.5, 27.2 and 37.3 % for November 26, December 11 and December 26 plantings, respectively in 2004. The corresponding differences were 17.7, 23.6 and 30.2 % in 2005. The findings of this study provide valuable information on the epidemiology of spot blotch and tan spot, which could help in developing strategies for managing these diseases in South Asian region through the selection of suitable genotypes and planting dates.
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