Breeding strategies and prospects of wheat improvement in northwestern himalayas
412Wheat is an important winter cereal of North Western Himalayan region of India. The average productivity of this region is low as compared to Indo-Gangetic plains. Low productivity is primarily due to rain fed cultivation and losses due to biotic stresses. Among biotic stresses, stripe rust has emerged as an important disease not only in Himalayan region but also in North-Western plains, because it receives primary inoculum of rusts from off-season crop and volunteer plants grown in different altitudes of Himalaya. Breeding strategy is focused to utilize diverse rust resistance gene sources with reliable yield and moisture stress tolerance for developing high yielding wheat varieties fitting to Himalayan ecology. With prime aim to provide semi-dwarf high yielding wheat varieties to hill farmers and keeping national interest to contain wheat rusts in the hills, a number of wheat varieties were released and deployed in Himalayan region.