NEW research by the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI) aims to identify chickpea lines which will tolerate cool temperatures, potentially adding up to $81 million in value each year to the northern grains region.
The research is part of the Grains Agronomy and Pathology Partnership (GAPP) with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), and focuses on elite Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA) chickpea breeding lines with superior chilling tolerance compared to current commercial varieties.
DPI crop physiologist Dr Neroli Graham said lower temperatures after flowering reduced grain yield by more than half a tonne per hectare in north western NSW.
“If we could reduce that yield loss to 0.25 tonne per hectare the economic benefit in northern NSW and southern QLD alone could be more than $80 million a year,” she said.
“The research conducted at the DPI’s Tamworth Agricultural Institute and Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute aims to develop new knowledge and genetic tools to provide a more targeted breeding process for chilling tolerance.”
Working closely with the PBA Chickpea program, the research will provide a greater understanding of how current varieties and new breeding lines respond to cool temperatures during flowering and podset.
“The lack of chilling tolerance in current varieties is a major obstacle for farmers looking for earlier maturing crops for weed management, and for improved adaptation to shorter seasons in low rainfall regions and double cropping,” Dr Graham said.
“If we can improve the chilling tolerance we could also expand national chickpea production into areas previously considered unsuitable due to cool temperatures, but which generally have higher rainfall as well.”
Source: NSW DPI
This research project is part of the Grains Agronomy and Pathology Partnership (GAPP), a long term grains research partnership between Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and the NSWDPI.