Thursday, February 17, 2011



The Department of Plant Pathology, in collaboration with Department of Agrometeorology has developed a decision support system (DSS) for predicting late blight of potato based on duration of relative humidity at a range of temperatures. In his remarks after launching the system, Dr. Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU said that the farmers will find this facility useful in managing the disease, which is economically the most important disease of potato. He remarked that DSS is a great and need-based programme that will provide useful information to the growers in undertaking the timely and effective disease management of their potato crop. Dr. Kang said that similar models for predicting crop yields would be required. He congratulated the inter-disciplinary team of scientists involved in developing the dynamic system for predicting the disease. He said that the web-enabled support system will help quick dissemination of information even to distant potato growers.

The Director of Research, Dr. S.S.Gosal said that DSS is a new innovation that PAU has made in the direction of providing information on the prediction of late blight of potato. He said that the disease is a serious hindrance to the successful crop production programme. He highlighted that PAU has chalked out a plan for potato seed production, for which effective disease management is required.

Providing details through a power point presentation, Dr. T.S.Thind, Head, Department of Plant Pathology said that the DSS works out disease severity values on a 0-4 scale, depending upon the relative humidity prevailing. The system works on the assumption that the primary source of late blight inoculum is present in the fields. He provided details about the system that highlights information about the disease, factors conducive for disease development, recommended disease management practices, etc. for the benefits of potato growers.

For getting regular weather data from the field, six automatic weather stations have been installed in potato growing districts of Hoshiarpur, Saheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Ropar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Bathinda, said Dr. Thind. He elaborated that the daily weather data are used in the model to forecast disease severity values and accordingly advisory can be issued to the growers whether to go in for fungicide spray or not.

Present on the occasion were the PAU Registrar, Deans, Directors, Additional Directors and Heads of various departments.
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