Tour Report of University Outreach Program (Rawalpindi Group)

University outreach program strengthened the link between university and the farmers of Pothwar region. Outcomes of last year’s comprehensive outreach program attracted farmers to actively participate in it. During the Rabi season 2021-2022 program was launched on relatively larger scale with emphasizing on increasing per acre yield of three major crops of barani areas i.e wheat, chickpea and brassica. For field demonstration, progressive farmers were selected and new certified varieties of wheat (Fakhar-e-Bakkar), brassica (Barani canola), chickpea (Bittel 2016) were sown in farmers’ fields in rainfed areas of Rawalpindi district and vegetable seed kits for kitchen gardening were also distributed through balloting. Farmers’ gatherings were organized pre and post sowing of Rabi crops. In these meetings, farmers were comprehensively briefed about the latest production technologies of Rabi crops and their problems were addressed on the spot by field specialists Rawalpindi team.

On 16-12-2021 Rawalpindi team 1st time visited demonstration plots (D-Plots) planted on farmer fields to observe crop condition. Three D-plots of wheat (Fakhar-e-Bakkar) were planted at village Phambrray Gujjran, Koont and Gangothi. Seed germination was good at Phambrray Gujjran and Gangothi but at Koont it was poor, both broad leaf and narrow leaf weeds were found and based on weed population assessment broad leaf weedicide Kick (Flouroxypyr Meptyl+MCPA+ Floroslam) 350 ml/acre) and narrow leaf weedicide Clodinafop Proporgyl (120g/acre) were suggested and their foliar application was done.

During the second visit on 01-02-2022, weed control and over all crop condition was found satisfactory when demonstration plot was compared with conventional practiced crop at village Phambrray Gujjran and Gangothi. But crop condition at village Koont was unsatisfactory. As, at initial stage, crop was severely affected by drought stress but after current good spell of rainfall crop is gaining momentum gradually.

Second most important factor was non-availability and high pricing of DAP and urea fertilizers in the local market. As communicated by local farmers, crop condition of the area is unsatisfactory due to high pricing and non-availability of DAP and Urea fertilizers and the use of fertilizers was less than normal in this season which may result in low per acre yield of wheat in Pothwar region. However, the condition of demonstration plots was satisfactory as all inputs were applied timely and in proper way as per recommendations.

The team advised the farmers to go for the foliar application of urea (not exceeding 1% concentration of the solution) to get better results. Remain vigilant about expected issues like wheat rust, aphid infestation on brassica and Ascochyta blight on chickpea.