THREE NEW pulse varieties ideally suited to parts of Victoria and South Australia were released at yesterday’s Southern Pulse Agronomy Field Day by Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA) to increase options for growers in medium and higher rainfall zones.
From the PBA Chickpea Program has come PBA Royal, which program leader and New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Tamworth-based chickpea breeder Kristy Hobson said was likely to replace Genesis 090 as the preferred variety for some kabuli growers.
“It’s given us a yield improvement over Genesis 090 in the medium rainfall range, and has a larger seed size too,” Dr Hobson said.
“Sometimes there’s a price premium for kabulis based on size, and you could be getting $100 per tonne more from Royal than from Genesis 090 because of that.”
Amberley adds to fabas
The other variety to be released at the field day in Horsham, and held as the first day of the annual Australian Pulse Conference, was PBA Amberley, the first faba bean variety ever to be rated moderately resistant to chocolate spot.
University of Adelaide researcher and South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) faba-bean breeder Jeff Paull was behind PBA Amberley, which SARDI plant pathologist Rohan Kimber said was “the big step-change” for faba beans in growing areas which received at least 500 millimetres of annual average rainfall.
“Chocolate spot can be a problem because it likes good soil moisture, and it’s a major epidemic disease which can really spook farmers,” Dr Kimber said
“PBA Amberley is moderately resistant to chocolate spot, and we haven’t had a variety in that ballpark before because it’s also resistant to the old and new strains of ascochyta.”
Dr Paull used a variety of germplasm sources from around the world to get PBA Amberley, which is expected to supplant PBA Zahra and PBA Rana in rotations.
PBA Amberley’s area of best adaptation is southern Victoria, and the Lower South-East of South Australia and adjoining areas in Western Victoria.
The variety flowers mid season, and is being marketed as having high yield potential and excellent standing ability in districts with a long growing season.
Its seed is described as light brown and medium in size, and suitable for co-mingling with the current faba-bean varieties for export to food markets in the Middle East.
Areas where PBA Amberley could be grown include the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, and also the Victorian Wimmera and parts of the southern slopes and plains in New South Wales.
PBA Royal areas of best adaptation include South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula and parts of the Lower Eyre Peninsula, Mid-North and South-East, running into the Wimmera and Southern Mallee.
The variety is also seen as having potential in areas where desi chickpeas dominate from the Victorian border north to the Darling and Western Downs and Maranoa regions in Queensland.
Trials have shown PBA Royal to be the highest-yielding medium-sized kabuli in environments with mid-to-high yield potential, or more than 1.5 tonnes per hectare.
As with Genesis 090, PBA Royal is rated as moderately susceptible to ascochyta blight in the southern Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) cropping region, and moderately resistant to the fungus in the northern GRDC region.
PBA also launched the lentil variety, PBA Highland XT, a herbicide-tolerant medium red lentil variety which has performed well in drier regions such as the Victorian Mallee and in South Australia.