Pulse Breeding Australia: Field Pea Breeding Program.
- Researcher's Name:
- Mr Tony Leonforte
- VIC DPI
- Project Code:
- Contract Start:
- Contract End:
Pulse Breeding Australia will conduct a world class field pea breeding program that will deliver superior new varieties with increased productivity and profitability for field pea growers and which will expand the crops adaptation range in Australia. To achieve this the focus of breeding will be on improving yield potential, yield reliability and general adaptation, particularly for lower rainfall climates. The program will aim to combine desirable genetic variation that will increase grain yield potential, reduce crop input costs, reduce crop risk and maintain grain market access. The specific focus on trait genetic improvement will be annually reviewed and will cover: 1) Grain yield and adaptation (general and regional): - High yield potential across and within the major production regions for field pea - Yield reliability particularly in low rainfall or short season climates 2) Grain quality - Emphasis on smooth, spherical "Kaspa type" field pea • Light tan-red seed coat • High splitting yield • High hydration capacity • Superior cooking time3) Plant features and suitable agronomy: - Emphasis on the "Kaspa" ideotype which is characterised by: erect and vigorous vegetative plant growth, plant features that improve harvesting efficiency (e.g. lodging resistance, suitable plant height) and reduce harvest losses caused by pod shattering (e.g. sugar pod trait). - Optimal flowering time and flowering duration particularly for lower rainfall climates (e.g. PBA Gunyah) - Regional adapatation for grain yield. 4) Multiple disease resistance / tolerance to: - Blackspot complex - Bacterial blight - Downy mildew - Powdery mildew - Viruses: BLRV, PSbMV5) Abiotic stress tolerance to: - High soil boron and soil salinity - Herbicides - Reproductive frost damage - Drought The program will ensure long-term genetic improvement for growers by undertaking a targeted parent building program for the major abiotic and biotic traits were superior genetic variation has been identified. This will be achieved by utilising germplasm and knowledge from agencies conducting pre-breeding, breeding and molecular marker research on field pea globally.
Field pea is an important component of the southern Australian dryland cropping zone and is used as cash crop, as a disease break crop and for the provision of soil nitrogen. The current field pea crop area is around 300-400,000 ha and over 75% of this area is within low to medium rainfall climates (e.g. growing season rainfall <250mm) or on marginal soil types were field pea is relatively better adapted than other pulse crops.
The genetic improvement of field pea for Australia is essential for delivering superior genetics (i.e. new varieties) to growers that can improve crop production, management, profitability and grain marketing. Ongoing genetic improvement will ensure that the field pea industry remains a viable legume option for low rainfall climates in Australia and competitive on the international grain market.
Several significant breakthroughs from field pea breeding research were realised with the release of the variety Kaspa; a broadly adapted, semi-dwarf, afila plant ideotype (such as Kaspa, with leaflets converted into tendrils), with good lodging and pod shatter resistance at harvest and improved grain quality for splitting and snack food industries for the Indian sub-continent. Kaspa has quickly dominated the industry (>90%), but has unreliable performance in short growing seasons for which field pea production is expanding. The focus of breeding over the last decade has been to maintain this improved Australian ideotype for low rainfall environments and further optimise flowering traits, disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance. This has led to the release of superior "Kaspa type " varieties (e.g. PBA Gunyah, PBA Twilight) that flower earlier (e.g. up to 2 weeks) and for longer in short growing season climates and are reliably higher yielding and less prone to terminal drought.
This proposed new plant breeding program will have a short term strategy to deliver superior "Kaspa type" varieties with a similar phenology to PBA Gunyah for low rainfall climates with higher yield potential and with much higher virus (BLRV, PSbMV) and powdery mildew disease resistance and tolerance to soil boron toxicity (e.g. relative to PBA Gunyah). The program wil have a longer term strategy to optimise blackspot, downy mildew and bacterial blight disease resistance and tolerance to soil salinity and boron toxicity, reproductive frost tolerance and drought tolerance in a "Kaspa type" plant background.
A commercial pipeline partner (i.e. 5 years) has been awarded a license to market new field pea varieties released from PBA via a tender process involving PBA's stakeholders. The license is expected to be re-awarded on a 5 yearly basis.
A pea release advisory committee represented by researchers (e.g. plant breeders and agronomists), industry specialists, stakeholders and the commercial pipeline partner will oversee the variety release process from PBA to maximise and optimise variety adoption and benefits to the grain growers of Australia.
The pea release advisory committee will utilise specialist advice from industry and research to ensure rapid and targeted delivery of variety benefits to industry.
The productivity and profitability of the Australian field pea crop will be increased through the delivery of new varieties with improved yield and reliability of yield, crop management and grain quality. The field pea crop has potential to expand to over 450,000ha in low to medium rainfall cropping regions. This will be driven by the release of more broadly adapted "Kaspa type" varieties for regions were other higher value pulse crops are not reliable.
The PBA field pea breeding program will deliver superior field pea varieties for the major field pea production zones over the next 5 year period that combine improved yield potential and reliability, disease resistance (e.g. virus, mildew, blackspot, bacterial blight), adaptation (e.g. plant type, flowering habit, soil boron toxicity tolerance) and suitable grain for end use markets (e.g. Kaspa type, Dun type). The breeding program will further develop elite and parental germplasm to ensure longer term benefits are delivered to industry from an ongoing breeding program.
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