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Crop Sciences Research Program




  • Pakistan’s population is increasing at an alarming rate of 1.94% per annum. According to Pakistan Economic Survey 2003-04 there are more than 145.95 million people living in Pakistan. Likewise, livestock population is also on hike. Therefore, both food and feed deficits are inevitable. The country’s present irrigated farmland would not produce enough wheat to feed an ever-multiplying population. As an alternative, marginal cultivable lands lying in arid/semi-arid areas are required to be utilized which can contribute moderately in overcoming and leveling the acute deficits in food and feed productivity.


    INTRODUCTION

    Pakistan’s population is increasing at an alarming rate of 1.94% per annum. According to Pakistan Economic Survey 2003-04 there are more than 145.95 million people living in Pakistan. Likewise, livestock population is also on hike. Therefore, both food and feed deficits are inevitable. The country’s present irrigated farmland would not produce enough wheat to feed an ever-multiplying population. As an alternative, marginal cultivable lands lying in arid/semi-arid areas are required to be utilized which can contribute moderately in overcoming and leveling the acute deficits in food and feed productivity. Therefore, after considerable forethought to the situation, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) launched Crop Sciences Research Program (Germplasm Evaluation Program) at the Arid Zone Research Center in 1984-85. Recently, this program has been re-organized into following three units: 

    a. PBG Unit 

    b. Plant Protection Unit  

    c. Horticulture Unit (not yet functional). 

    a. PBG UNIT 

    OBJECTIVES  

    Selection of germplasm of wheat, barley, and lentil for cold/drought tolerance and disease resistance for rainfed areas of Balochistan. 

    Determination of crop residue potential of selected genotypes for livestock feeding .  

    ACCOMPLISHMENTS  

    Following varieties of both cereals and food/forage legumes have been released after a rigorous testing in different agro-ecological zones of highland Balochistan: 

    Wheat and Barley Varieties: Following high yielding, cold and drought tolerant and disease resistant (Yellow Rust Resistant) one wheat (AZRI-96) and one barley (Sanober-96) variety for highland Balochistan have been approved by Balochistan Seed Council and Federal Seed Registration Department. 

    AZRI-96 (Wheat): Average grain yield of AZRI-96 (Table 1) is 2000 kg/ha as compared to that of local landrace (1500 kg/ha). Similarly, total dry production (TDM) of AZRI-96 (7900 kg/ha) is also higher (Table 1) than the local wheat (7200 kg/ha).

    Promising Lines (Wheat): In addition, another line {K98= DMN// SUT/ AG(ES86-7)/3/OPATA/4/Tx 71A1039-VI*3/ AMI}has been selected which is not only drought and cold tolerant but also yellow rust resistant. It is high grain yielding (2500 kg/ha) with TDM production 7500 kg/ha and flowers in 140 days and attains an average height of 100 cm (Table 2). It tolerates cold upto -17oC. Its test weight is 76.9 kg/hl. Its grain is white in color and protein content is 12.8 %. Similarly, we have also identified another promising line (Cham-6) of wheat from exotic material whose performance against prevalent stresses is very good (Table 2).

    Sanober-96 (Barley): The average grain yield of AZRC barley variety, Sanober-96 (Table 1) is also higher (2000 kg/ha) than that of local barley (1500 kg/ha). Similarly, Sanober-96 also produces more TDM (5000 kg/ha) than that of local barley (4500 kg/ha).

    Promising Line (Barley): Another promising line (Nal-03 = WI2291/WI2269) has flexibility in its genetic make-up and can be used both as full season and also as short season variety. The Nal-03 can produce 2100 kg/ha grain and 7000 kg/ha TDM when planted as full season variety (Table 2). If it is planted as late as February in the highlands of Balochistan when the area receives late rains during winter, it can give grain production about 700 kg/ha and TDM 2250 kg/ha.

    Table 1. Released drought and cold tolerant and yellow rust resistant cereal varieties

    Wheat (kg/ha)                 Barley(kg/ha)

    AZRI-96 Local Sanober-96 Local

    TDM           7900         7200                 5000           4500

    GY             2000         1500                 2200           1600

    Table 2. Yield potential of crop varieties under highland Balochistan  (in pipeline)

    Wheat             Barley(Kg/ha)             Lentil

    K-98 Cham-6      Nal-03 ILL8076    ILL8081

    TDM             7500         8000          7000         3000           2600

    GY                2500         2000          2100          500            460

    2. AZRC Cereal Breeder has also helped ARI in releasing a winter barley variety (Soorab-96).

    3. Bold-Seeded high yielding, cold and drought tolerant food/forage legumes for highland Balochistan:

    Shir-AZ-96 (Lentil): One bold-seeded lentil variety (Shir-AZ-96) released for highland Balochistan is highly cold and drought tolerant, wilt resistant and high yielding. It can give seed yield upto 700 kg/ha while the local ultra small seeded landrace yields 500 kg/ha. Similarly, the new variety gives TDM from 3500-4000 kg/ha in comparison to local lentil’s 3000 kg/ha (Table 3).

    Promising Lines (Lentil): Two promising lentil lines (ILL-8076 and ILL 8081) have also been evaluated for highland Balochistan (Table 2) which have good desirable traits against the prevalent biotic and abiotoic stresses in the target rainfed area .

    Table 3. Released drought, cold tolerant and disease resistant food & forage legume varieties


    Lentil (Kg/ha)             Forage Legume (Kg/ha) 
    Shiraz-96 Local Kuhak-96


    TDM                4000          3000                     5000
    GY                   700            500                       500

    Kuhak-96 (Forage Legume): One released forage legume variety (Kuhak-96) of Vicia dasycarpa (vetch) is suitable for winter planting. It is a good green forage producing variety under the prevailing stress of upland Balochistan. It can provide a good alternate source of feed for small ruminants in the target areas of the province during chilly months of winter when the forage is almost a rare commodity. It can produce seed upto 500 and TDM 5000 kg/ha (Table 3). Presently, no annually sown forage legume variety is available for winter planting in highland Balochistan.

    TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

    *The AZRC crop varieties of cereals and legumes have been disseminated to more than 250 nucleus farmers of different agro-ecological zones of highland Balochistan.

    *Barley variety (Sanober-96) is one of the most popular varieties of AZRC which has been adopted by farmers of highland Balochistan widely and especially in Nal area of Khuzdar where it has replaced the local barley varieties and its seed is being sold in Karachi market and also various districts of Punjab by AZRI, Bahawalpur. Its seed has been disseminated to more than 100 nucleus farmers of Punjab.

    CURRENT RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

    1.      Germplasm evaluation of cereals (wheat & barley) and food legumes (lentil) against abiotic (cold & drought) biotic (yellow rust in cereals and Fusarium wilt in lentil) stresses in Balochistan.


    2.      Breeders Nulcleus Seed increase of varieties and promising lines.

    FUTURE PLAN OF WORK

    1.     Continuation of testing of exotic germplasm to have a flow of desirable genotypes in pipeline to avoid disasters brought by stresses like yellow rust, army worm, etc.


    2.     Higher priority would be given to address the problems of “Sailaba” and “Khushkaba” farming systems by developing suitable crop varieties for the area.


    3.     Seed multiplication of selected genotypes.

    b. PLANT PROTECTION UNIT


    In province of Punjab, Sindh and NWFP plant protection sector establishments are well-developed and manned with highly qualified people. Contrary to this, in Balochistan very insignificant plant protection facilities were available. Keeping in view the international scenario and national activities in plant protection sector, there is a dire need of strengthening plant protection activities at AZRC, Quetta.

    OBJECTIVES

    1. Identify the economically important diseases of vegetables, Orchards and crops.
    2. Identify sources of resistant against economically important diseases.
    3. Provision of diagnostic services to farming Community.

    ACHIEVEMENTS 2002-2004

    The diagnosis of the potato samples indicated the infection of potato leaf roll virus and potato virus Y.

    The chilies were infected with cucumber mosaic virus and chili venial mottle virus. The symptoms on tomato plants and the presence of white fly indicated the infection of tomato with tomato leaf curl virus.

    Population dynamics of aphids and thrips was carried out at AZRC and Agric. College, Quetta. Data indicated that the aphid population was higher on wheat than barley i.e. 2 aphids/tiller on wheat and  < 2 aphids/tiller on barley. Thrips population was also higher on wheat as compared to barley i.e 3 and 1.5 thrips/tiller on wheat and barley respectively.

    About 8 phenotypically different aphids and thrips were collected and identified as:

    Apple

    Rosy apple aphid  (Dysaphis plantagenia)

    Green apple aphid (Aphis pomi)

    Black aphid (Aphis spp.)

    Almond, peach, cherry and apricot

    Brown peach aphid (Lachnus persicae)

    Almond, peach, apricot and plum Green peach aphid Myzus persicae

    Mint Mint Aphid Ovatus crataegarius (Walker)

    Barley and wheat Barley thrips, Limothrips denticornis (Halliday) Grain aphid, acrosiphum

    (Sitobion) avenae F. and  Diuraphis noxia (Russian wheat aphid).

    Key Reference : Parc.gov.pk

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