Expanding the use of pulses in the southern region
- Researcher's Name:
- Dr Jason Brand
- Department of Primary Industries - Victoria
Horsham VIC 3401
- (03) 5362 2111
- (03) 5362 2317
- Project Code:
- Contract Start:
- Contract End:
Pulses are an integral part of farming systems in southern Australia, delivering well known and proven rotational, economic and environmental benefits to growers. Despite a wide spread understanding of these benefits in southern region farming systems pulses are not always economic due to higher input costs and lower reliability than cereals. Further to this they are predominately grown on the better soils in the more reliable cropping areas (medium rainfall) and are currently poorly represented in lower and higher rainfall growing regions. Over the next 5 years many new varieties will be released by Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA) with changes in agronomic traits and improved adaptation. Further and ongoing improvements in matching farming systems and agronomic management practices with the new improved varieties is required to address these issues. The proposed research will enable the expansion into the marginal zones as well as maximising profitability in the more reliable zones where pulses can be up to 30-40% of the rotation.
This project will contribute to the expansion of the use of pulses in the southern region through research and development that delivers:
1. Variety specific agronomy packages (VSAP) - delivering benefits of new varieties to growers. Targeted agronomic research to produce data for new pulse varieties which will be synthesised into management packages for the southern Australian cropping regions in collaboration with PBA or other pulse breeding organisations.
2. Profitable pulses for modern farming systems - matching best genotypes to best systems. Strategic genotype x management research that provides: direction to PBA on potential genes/traits that confer advantage in new farming systems; information on how to agronomically maximise the benefits of new traits/genes currently recognised in the breeding program and the impacts of the genotype x management interaction on soil moisture. More specifically research will be focussed on 2 areas:
a. Understanding the agronomic importance of traits linked with weed management, eg. early maturity, herbicide tolerance, competitive plant types including forage types.
b. Identification of traits that are required for maximum production in modern minimum or no-till farming systems.
This research will draw on the extensive experience of project partners in pulse production and linkages with PBA, grower groups, commercialising companies, advisors and other research projects. Research will be conducted on smaller scale detailed trial plots due to limited seed supply. However research sites, where possible, will be located with other pulse research sites and larger scale grower managed demonstration strips of new varieties.
The research will address major and expanding production zones:
1. More reliable production areas where pulses can often stand alone as a cash crop as well as provide break crop benefits (eg Mid North of SA, York Peninsula, Wimmera & small areas of the eastern portion of southern NSW);
2.The more marginal areas where greater emphasis is currently placed on their break crop effects.
2H. High Rainfall Zone of southern Victoria and SA western area of Southern NSW will be high priority,
2L. Low Rainfall Mallee, Low Rainfall Areas of Mid North and the Eyre Peninsula, Western NSW.
The delivery of VSAP's and matching of genotypes to best systems is viewed as an essential link in the pulse industry complementing the new variety development by PBA.
In addition, economic analysis of key agronomic treatments x varieties within research trials will occur to assess potential profitability within a farming system context. It is proposed that an initial focus will be on the traits and management associated with weed management. Scoping will occur in year one of the project followed by data collation and preliminary analysis in years 2-3 followed by more detailed economic studies in year 4-5. The economic analysis will provide a fundamental base for growers to identify the best options for their farming systems.
Delivery of the outputs will build towards the common vision we share with PBA for the Australian pulse industry to develop profitable and sustainable pulse crops, to increase their adoption to between 15-20% of total crop area planted, increase their average yields to 1.5 tonnes per hectare from 1 t/ha and reduce overall input costs. The project maintains close industry links through active participation at field days, with technical publications and grower groups (eg. VNTFA,BCG, SFS, MSFS, CWFS, EP, Farm Link, YPASG, Riverina Plains, Hart, MNHR) and presentations at key industry conferences (i.e GRDC updates and Pulse Australia).
1. Agronomic management summary data for variety specific agronomic packages for new pulse varieties identified at annual planning meeting delivered to growers, industry and breeding groups.
2. Strategic genotype x management research that provides: direction to PBA on potential genes/traits that confer advantage in new farming systems; information on how to agronomically maximise the benefits of new traits/genes currently recognised in the breeding program and the impacts of the GxM interaction on soil moisture.
Most trials of the southern pulse agronomy program were successfully sown, relevant notes taken and harvested for grain yield. Details of all trials sown in 2010 can be supplied upon request. All data from 2010 has been collated and analysed and will be provided in the '2010 Results Summary'.
Data from trials will be used for variety brochures produced by Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA) (see PBA Blitz and PBA Gunyah attached). Results have and will be incorporated into various 2010 state publications such as the SARDI Crop Harvest Report, Victorian Winter Crop Summary, I&I NSW DPI Winter Crop Variety Sowing Guide and numerous Farming System Groups Result books.
In addition, results from the agronomy program were highlighted in two GRDC Groundcover magazine issues in 2010. Specific results were also presented at various industry conferences during 2010 and early 2011, including the annual GRDC Update. Several presentations were made at the 15th Australian Agronomy Conference, held in Christchurch, New Zealand, highlighting research from the previous agronomy project. Field trials associated with the project were successful and had significant exposure during 2010 attracting in excess of 300 attendees. At these field days several new PBA varieties were released and agronomic management issues highlighted. The field days are viewed as the key pulse information days for southern Australian growers. Research personnel presented trials to grower groups, private agronomy groups, field days (e.g Hart, BCG, CWFS) and industry workshops. The strong relationships with commercial and private agronomists also allow maximum exposure of all pulse research work. With each successive year of the pulse project our creditability and reputation builds as leaders in pulse research.
Project Linkages: This project continues to be an integral component of the pulse research effort in southern Australia. In addition, to the linkages with PBA and Pulse Australia, strong relationships have been recently developed with Pulse grain quality programs, ‘Improving food quality and end-use acceptance of Australian pulses’ (DAV00114) and ‘Improving food quality and end use market acceptance of Australian pulses - cooking and sensory’ (DAN00139), which are utilising seed from the agronomy program to calibrate and assess key quality traits with various pulse crops. We are also involved with supervision of a student at Melbourne University, who is investigating the impact of herbicide tolerance traits on nodulation and nitrogen fixation. Discussions are ongoing with representatives from the crop sequencing projects to develop synergies.
Preliminary findings have highlighted and continue to address several significant management issues in pulses.
Heavy rainfall events during harvest significantly reduced grain yield and quality in many pulse crops. Estimates from a trial in the southern Mallee of Victoria indicated that from one rain event lentils lost between 35 and 65% of their potential yield, with significant differences between varieties.
Early sowing of pulses which has proved to maximise success and profitability in dry seasons showed no adverse effects in a normal-wet season if growers followed key management recommendations. Risks associated with excess biomass and increased disease pressure can be adequately controlled with the use of appropriate varieties, sowing techniques (eg. wider rows spacing’s) and appropriately timed fungicide applications. Successful time of sowing trials across the project’s regions proved whilst early sowing is the better option to maximise yields, growers still must carefully plan their crop management to avoid crop failure from excessive crop lodging and disease.
The benefits of early sowing and stubble management have been widely discussed in recent seasons characterised by low growing season rainfall, and/or short, sharp finishes. A stubble trial at Mallala found a significant interaction between sowing time and stubble treatments in lentils, where retained wheat stubble (approximately 30cm tall and 2 t/ha) improved yield of lentils at all sowing times, but especially at the later sowing date, and more so in particular varieties. These results are surprising, considering the long, favourable season, but demonstrate the importance of conserving soil moisture.
Crop Topping/Desiccation research has highlighted that in lentils some of the new earlier maturing types (eg. PBA Flash and PBA Blitz) are now providing an opportunity to target ryegrass at the optimum stage for control. Grain yield loss and seed quality decline was significant in the later and mid maturing types (eg Nipper). Further work is ongoing to understand the full impacts on seed quality and germinability.
Detailed results will be provided in the Annual results summary due at the end of April. The information from the GxM research is provided to PBA breeders to aid in development of future varieties suited to southern Australian management systems. In addition, specific management information is provided to industry through channels previously outlined.
Field Days were held at Curyo (southern Mallee) and Vectis (Wimmera) sites, Victoria; Mallala (Lower North), SA and Yenda and Wagga, NSW.
At each of the field days, key industry production and marketing isses were highlighted and new varieties released as appropriate from Pulse Breeding Australia
In addition, key project scientific staff presented at several independant field days, crop walks and private agronomist information days.
Presentations were made at each of the GRDC research updates in Wagga, NSW; Ballarat, Vic and Adelaide, SA in February 2010. These presentation were made in conjunction with PBA and Pulse Australia represetatives to ensures issue relating to new varieties and marketing were covered.
Please see Attachements (as list is difficult too format here) Attachment 2 and Attachment 3.
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Take home messages
• A large number of pulse variety options exist. Careful variety selection through knowing the agronomic, disease and marketing strengths and weakness of each variety is required to maximize pulse production and returns.
• Post sowing pre-emergent applications of Group C herbicides were often damaging in pulse crops in 2012. Careful...
Serious outbreaks of rust in faba bean crops throughout South Australia and Victoria in 2011 have underlined the need for vigilant management of the disease this coming season. SA Research and Development Institute (SARDI) pulse industry specialist, Larn McMurray, says growers should be aware that high inoculum levels may have...
Take home messages • Careful variety selection through knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each variety along with the correct implementation of recommended agronomic management packages will increase the likelihood of maximising grain yield and quality in pulses for 2012. • A number of new pulse releases occurred in 2011...
Take home messages • Growers can optimise variety selection by understanding the advantages and disadvatanges of each variety and how to correctly implement agronomic management packages that maximise grain yield, quality and profit from pulses crops in 2012. • Consider specific agronomic or marketing advantages of new pulse releases available...
Yields above six tonnes a hectare in faba bean trials at Wagga Wagga sown in late May have convinced NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) research agronomist Luke Gaynor that some varieties of the pulse could be a profitable break crop for Riverina growers.
Take home messages • Prepare now for fungicide sprays in spring, order chemicals or have them in shed • Monitor crops for disease • Spray lentils and beans ahead of canopy closure • Spray pulse crops during flowering and podding to prevent seed abortion and seed staining • Timely harvest...
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Research is presenting some new ideas for achieving high pulse yields in the southern region