Medium-seed faba bean opens options for northern pulse growers

Neil Lyon September 28, 2018

University of Sydney senior plant breeder, Kedar Adhikari, and post-doctoral researcher, Abdus Sadeque, in a trial plot of the new PBA Nanu faba bean with north west NSW farmer, Ian Gourley, Gourley Pastoral Company, Edgeroi.


A NEW faba bean variety with uniform, medium-sized seed is set to overcome some of the issues northern growers have with existing, variable seed-sized lines.

Launched at the University of Sydney’s I.A. Watson Grains Research Centre at Narrabri in north west New South Wales this week, the new variety, PBA Nanu, is well adapted to the low to medium rainfall regions of northern NSW and southern Queensland.

University of Sydney senior plant breeder Dr Kedar Adhikari, Narrabri, said the new variety, which was developed jointly by the University of Sydney and NSW Department of Primary Industries, was an alternative to the current lines, PBA Warda and PBA Nasma.

He said it was a high yielding, early flowering, early maturing line that was more frost-resistant than other varieties. Of particular importance was its medium-sized seed production.

“In the past there has been a problem with faba bean seeds being too small or too big. This variety is a solution to those problems. It is a medium seed size, so there should be no problem in getting the seed through the seeder as well as fitting the premium quality grain market for export,” he said.

Dr Adhikari said its other important trait was it produced more uniform seeds than other lines.

“Other varieties have a very variable seed size. PBA Nanu has more even seeds. It has more uniform and larger seed than PBA Warda and slightly smaller seed than PBA Nasma,” he said.

Dr Adhikari said PBA Nanu was well adapted to northern New South Wales where it had out-yielded PBA Nasma by 2-4 per cent in both low and high yielding trial sites, including National Variety Ttrials.

“Sowing time is no different to others. We generally sow it in this area towards the end of April/early May,” he said.

“Its seeding rate will be higher than PBA Warda and lower than PBA Nasma because of seed size differences. Generally, growers should aim for seeding rates that achieve 20 plants per square metre in northern NSW and southern Queensland.”

PBA Nanu has better resistance to rust than any other northern varieties and has the same level of resistance to bean leaf roll virus as PBA Nasma.

It is moderately susceptible to chocolate spot and susceptible to Ascochyta blight. However, Ascochyta blight is not prevalent in northern NSW and southern Queensland where the variety is recommended. Fungicides can be used in above average rainfall seasons to prevent chocolate spot infection.

PBA Nanu is not recommended for southern regions where Ascochyta blight and chocolate spot can cause significant yield loss.

“PBA Nanu seed will be available for next season in very limited quantities because of the drought. We couldn’t multiply the seed as much as we wanted. It will be available through Seednet,” Dr Adhikari said.


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