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Scheme for Investigation into and Control of Ergot of Bajra
Bajra (Pennisetum americanum Burn) is the important cereal crop of Maharashtra State. It has multiple uses. Besides being a staple food, its fodder is an important feed of the milch animals. Pearl millet is therefore of permanent importance for food and fodder security in the State. Among the various constraints in the production of bajra, the incidence of diseases, especially Ergot disease, poses serious problem which causes drastic reduction of average Bajra yield. The disease has been known for a long time. It assumes a special importance because the bajra grain is easily contaminated by grain replacing sclerotia which contain alkaloids that affect the health of human being and animals. Besides Ergot, downy mildew is wide spread and sometimes it is a destructive disease of bajra. Many high yielding hybrids have gone out of cultivation only due to severe incidence of downy mildew disease.
In view of its severity, the bajra screening for downy mildew and ergot resistance was started at the College of Agriculture, Pune since 1963.