New Wheat Variety for Bumthang Farmers

DSC_7461RNR-RDC Jakar has been conducting the Winter Wheat Varietal Improvement Program in collaboration with RNR-RDC Bajo (Wheat Coordinating Center) and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) with the aim to identify potential improved varieties in order to broaden the genetic base in the winter wheat ecosystem; and to provide variety choice to the high altitude farmers. Two lines from Nepal (NL 1064 and WK 1204) and one (Gumasokha Ka) originally from Mexico but released recently by RDC Bajo were evaluated under farmers’ management conditions.

A field day was organized at Tang and Chumey mainly to jointly assess the performances of these new varieties, gather farmers’ feedbacks and plan future course of actions. Twenty farmers from each site participated actively during the Participatory Varietal Selection process.

Of the three cultivars, majority of the farmers in both sites preferred NL 1064 owing to big and compact spike, bold grains, medium plant height and optimum maturity. In terms of yield potential, the new variety produced 30% more grain than the local cultivar. Further, the local variety had small spike and prone to lodging due to tall stature. Most importantly, varietal deterioration in local cultivar was observed as manifested through admixture and non-uniform plant stand in the field. Farmers were very excited about the new variety; and they have demanded about 1500 kgs of seed for the ensuing season.

The seed request has been forwarded to CIMMYT regional office based in Nepal, and there was an indication of extending the support owing to the existing strong linkage. The proposal for releasing/notifying this variety for high altitude ecosystem will be presented in the upcoming Varietal Release Committee (VRC) meeting. It is expected that the new wheat variety will contribute to increase in production apart from reviving the seed system of our high altitude wheat farmers. NL 1064 wheat variety is resistant to all rusts disease apart from its high grain yield.

Contributed by RNR-RDCs Jakar and Bajo

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