Wheat is a staple crop in more than 40 countries and provides more than 60% of calories in human diet, together with rice and maize. Globally, India is the second largest wheat producing country with 95.8 m tonnes wheat production during 2013-14 crop seasons. Although India has very large wheat biodiversity where all three major wheat species namely, Triticum aestivum (bread wheat), T. durum (Macaroni or Kathia wheat) and T. dicoccum (Khapli or emmer wheat) are grown commercially, more than 95% wheat area falls under bread wheat.  The dicoccum wheat is supposed to be originated in Abyssinia centre of origin and was possibly introduced in India by the Arabian traders in the Western Ghat region. At present, it is reported to be grown on a very restricted scale in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka, where it is known under the names Popathiya, Khapli, and Samba, respectively.

Origin

Emmer or khapli wheat (T. turgidum ssp. dicoccum) is an annual, predominantly self-pollinated plant with large elongated grains and brittle ears. The species has two homologous sets of chromosomes, designated as BBAA (the cytoplasm is from the B genome), resulting most probable from spontaneous inter-specific hybridization as well as se lection of desirable  morphological characteristics. Two wild diploaid grass species are supposed to contribute in the development of emmer wheat. T.urartu (AA) was considered as the pollen donor whereas the female parent was an Aegilops species in the S genome group, probably Ae speltoides Tausch which contrributed the B genome. This hybridization resulted in the tetraploid wild species T. turgidum ssp. Dicoccoides (2n=4x=28) having fragile rachis from which a tough rachised form of the cultivated tetraploid T.turgidum ssp. dicoccum was sel ected. 

Utilization of Khapli wheat

In India, dicoccum wheat has long narrow flinty kernels and commonly used for preparation of semolina as breakfast food and pasta products. In general dicoccum wheat varieties are rich source of protein and complex carbohydrate (dietary fibre). It possesses excellent grain quality traits and is rich source of dietary fibres of more than 16% and contains protein and total carbohydrates ranging from 11.8 to 15.3% and 78.7 to 83.2%, respectively. The traditional products of dicoccum wheat varieties have better taste, texture and flavour. The products of coarse semolina are highly acceptable for texture and more nutritious.  Ready to eat traditional madeli of dicoccum wheat has better shelf life. Dicoccum wheat products viz, dalia and upma have better therapeutic quality with lower glycaemic index that makes it suitable for diabetic patients. Pasta products of dicoccum wheat varieties have higher protein and complex carbohydrates compare to durum wheat and helps in improving the endurance capacity of athletes. Good milling potential for semolina is highly suitable for preparation of pasta products and extrudates.  Presence of g-45 gliadin band is responsible for pasta quality.  Bulgarisation is the most suitable processing method as it improves the dehulling quality with low breakage and improves the popping quality. Cultivars having sub-unit pair 1, 7 + 8 and w-35, g-45, w-34, g-44 gliadin units produce better bread with good loaf.

Varieties

Seven dicoccum or khapli wheat varieties have been developed out of which six have been notified by the CVRC. The salient features of these varieties are as under.

1. NP-200 Developed at IARI, Wellington and released in 1965 for SHZ under medium fertility, timely sown, irrigated and rainfed conditions and adapted to Nilgiri hills. Selection from local wheat of Rishi valley. A hand threshing cultivar with brittle rachis. A tall variety maturing in 105-110 days having resistance to all three rusts and powdery mildew. Dual purpose – ideal for Chapathi and Macroni. It lodges heavily on irrigation and higher dose of fertilizer application. Hard red grains with high protein content (12-13%). The kernels are good sources of dietary fibre and hence they have therapeutic value in the management of diabetes millets.
2. DDK-1001 Developed from UAS, Dharwad through hybridization (Local Dicoccum 4*//Local Dicoccum /RAJ1555) and released and notified by CVRC in 1997 vide SO 360 (E) dt. 1.5.1997 for timely sown irrigated conditions of Peninsular zone. Mean yield of 45.6q/ha with potential of 57.9q/ha. 1st semi-dwarf variety with 105-110 days maturity, resistance to black and brown rust, hard oblong and red coloured grains with 42.0g 1000-grains weight, 12.2% protein content.
3. DDK-1009 Developed from UAS, Dharwad through hybridization (NP200*4// NP200/ ALTAR-84) and released and notified by CVRC in 1998 vide SO 401(E) dt. 15.5.1998. Mean yield of 47.6q/ha with potential of 67.8q/ha. Semi-dwarf variety with 105-110 days maturity, resistance to black and brown rust, hard, elongated and red coloured grains with 43.0g 1000-grains weight, 13.8% protein content.
4. DDK-1025 Developed from UAS, Dharwad through hybridization (DDK 1013/DDK 1001//278-13) and released and notified by CVRC in 2006 vide SO 599(E) dt. 25.4.2006 for timely sown irrigated conditions of Peninsular zone. Mean yield of 42.3q/ha with potential of 49.7q/ha. Semi-dwarf variety with 105-110 days maturity, resistance to black and brown rust, semi-hard, elongated and red coloured grains with 41.8g 1000-grains weight, 13.0% protein content and 17.84% dietary fibre.
5. DDK-1029 Developed from UAS, Dharwad through hybridization (DDK 1012/HW 1093//276-15) and released and notified by CVRC in 2007 vide SO 1703(E) dt. 5.10.2007 for timely sown irrigated conditions of Peninsular and central zone. Mean yield of 45.6q/ha with potential of 59.9q/ha in Peninsular zone and 28.2q/ha with potential of 32.6q/ha in Central zone. Semi-dwarf variety with 105-110 days maturity, resistance to black and brown rust, semi-hard elongated and pale red coloured grains with 40.7g 1000-grains weight, 13.0% protein content.
6. MACS 2971 Developed from Agharkar Research Institute, Pune through hybridization (KRT 5*2/NP200) and released and notified by CVRC in 2009 vide SO 2187(E) dt. 27.8.2009 for timely sown irrigated conditions of Peninsular zone. Mean yield of 46.5q/ha with potential of 62.2q/ha. Semi-dwarf variety with 110-115 days maturity, resistance to black and brown rust, semi-hard, red coloured, elliptical grains with 40.4g 1000-grains weight, 13.3% protein content.
7. HW 1098 Developed at IARI-RS, Wellington as a mutant of NP 200 through irradiation (NP200-20kr) and identified by Varietal identification committee of the 52ndWheat workshop in 2013 for timely sown irrigated conditions of Peninsular and central zone. Mean yield of 45.5q/ha with potential of 62.2q/ha. Semi-dwarf variety with 105-110 days maturity, resistance to black and brown rust, hard, red coloured, elongated grains with 40.3g 1000-grains weight, 13.5% protein content.

Production technology

The cultivation of dicoccum wheats is extensively observed in Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Coastal districts of Sourashtra in Gujarat over an area of about one lakh hectare under irrigated situation. The production technology of dicoccum wheat for realizing higher production is detailed as under.

Sowing: Optimum sowing time is first fortnight of November but farmers grow it from middle October to as late as middle of December month. The seed rate is 100 kg/ha and sown in rows with 23 cm spacing.

Fertilisation: The fertilisation requires 6.0 tonnes organic manure, and inorganic fertilizer at the rate of 120kg Nitrogen (N), 60 kg Phosphorus (P2O5) and 40 kg potash (K2O). Organic manure should be applied three weeks prior to sowing. Apply 1/3rd N and full dose of P2O5 and K2O at the time of sowing.  Remaining N should be top dressed at 1st node stage.

Irrigation and Inter-cultivation: Irrigate the crop at an interval of 8-10 days in case of shallow and sandy soils and 12-15 days interval in case of heavy black soil.  Crown root initiation, tillering, flowering and grain filling stages are critical stages for moisture. 20-25% irrigation water can be saved by adopting sprinkler method of irrigation with yield advantage. Inter cultivation practices at 25 and 40 days help to control weeds and favours better aeration.

Crop Protection Measures:

The major diseases and pests in dicoccum wheat, their symptoms and control measures are as detailed below.

Brown and Black rusts:

Small brown coloured raised pustules observed on leaves indicate symptoms of brown rust. Dark brown coloured long pustules are indicative of black or stem rust and occurs on leaves, leaf sheaths and peduncles. Under severe rust infestation, ear head emergence affected and shriveled grains are formed that causes drastic reduction in grain weight. The early sowing during October to escape rust infestation and use of rust resistant varieties are the preventive measures. For chemical control, spray of 0.1% propiconazole once or twice is recommended.

Leaf blight:

It can occur at any stage of crop growth. Spot blotch appear on leaves and infection start from lower leaves and spread to upper leaves and can be seen on ear heads also. High humid conditions favour spread of this disease.  2-3 sprays Mancozeb @ 2g/lit water or hexaconazole @ 1 ml/lit water at an interval of 15 days is recommended depending upon infestation.

Termites:

It feed root and stem portion at soil level due to which crops start drying.  The infestation is more when soil moisture content reduces.  Yield losses to an extent of 20-30% have been noticed. If symptoms appear on crop, spray of 500 litre solution of  chlorpyriphs 20 EC @ 10ml/lit of water on soil surfacein one hectare area is recommended. Termites can also be controlled by irrigations.

Stem Borer:

Drying of main shoot which can be pulled easily is indicative of stem borer. Spray of endosulphan 35 EC @ 2 ml/lit of water is recommended for the control.

Weed control:

Apply 2.5 kg 80% 2,4-D Na salt herbicide at 25-30 days after sowing.  Use 875 lit spray solution per ha or apply 3.3 ml/lit of Pendimathelin 30 EC or pre-emergence herbicide within two days of sowing. 

Harvesting and storage:

If the grains appear hard when pressed under teeth, then the crop is ready for harvest. Manual harvesting is done when grain moisture is about 20%. For storage, grains are dried to have moisture upto 12%. Storage should be made at airy open space and pest control measures should be adopted during rainy seasons.

Yield per hectare:

On an average, 35-40 q grain (with husk) and 45-55 q straw yields can be obtained from one hectare area. Improved varieties and better production technologies can enhance the yield upto the potential level of the varieties.


Authors

SK Singh, SA Desai1, Suma Birader1, Manoj Saini, K Venkatesh and V Tiwari

Directorate of Wheat Research, Karnal

1University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad

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