Yellow rust to hit China's key wheat areas in 2020 - govt institute

BEIJING, Dec 17 (Reuters) -

* Yellow rust is expected to affect China's wheat output around spring next year, after the disease spreads to key production areas across the eastern and northwest regions, a government-backed agriculture institute said on Tuesday.

* The yellow rust was first detected in Gansu, Ningxia, and Shaanxi provinces in northwest China around October and November, affecting autumn seedlings across 3.1 million mu (510,685 acres) - covering an area three times larger than the previous year, the National Agricultural Technology Promotional Center said in a report.

* The affected provinces witnessed a more severe outbreak this year compared with previous year.

* According to a forecast by China's Meteorological department, the temperature in the eastern and central wheat-producing regions is slightly higher compared with last year. This is conducive to breeding of yellow rust in winter, the report said.

* Farmers in wheat-breeding areas should strengthen their monitoring, prevent and control the yellow rust disease, the department said.

* China, the world's top wheat producer, has grown 133.59 million tonnes in 2019, up 1.6% from prior year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. (Reporting by Shivani Singh and Beijing newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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