GROWERS are showing renewed interest in legume ‘break crop’ rotations, particularly lentils, as a result of improved prices and the potential of new varieties.
As part of tactical break crop agronomy research led by the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) and supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), field trials were undertaken in 2016 to determine the legume varieties best suited to growing conditions in the Esperance region of WA.
Trial sites were located in Wittenoom Hills (lentil and faba bean), Grass Patch (lentil and vetch) and Kumarl (lentil).
DAFWA senior research officer Mark Seymour said for lentil growers, PBA Bolt was the best choice with no other variety out-yielding it.
“PBA Ace may prove to be a good lentil option for early sowing or longer seasons,” he said.
When considering plant-back tolerance in situations of imidazolamine and sulfonlyurea (SU) carryover, new lentil XT line CIPAL1422 performed well.
Mr Seymour said CIPAL1422, yet to be released commercially, looked to be a valuable alternative in addition to current variety PBA Hurricane XT to overcome SU carryover issues.
“Hurricane XT provided good tolerance to SU carryover compared to field peas and conventional lentil varieties, and also tolerated label and double label rates of Spinnaker herbicide application at Grass Patch.”
Current vetch varieties Timok, Morava and Volga all had similar yields around 1.8t/ha, while pre-commercial lines under evaluation showed considerable promise yielding between 1.9 and 2.2t/ha.
PBA Samira was the highest yielding released faba bean variety in the trials.
Mr Seymour said faba beans had consistently produced good yields in the Esperance region for a number of years and current varieties have very useful levels of disease resistance.
“The uptake of faba beans will be reliant on early sowing opportunities, improved price signals and increased seed availability in WA,” he said.
“The latest lentil varieties appear to provide superior yield potential and we can expect more grower interest in them if prices remain at current levels.”
For more information on Grains Research Updates go to the Grain Industry Association of WA website giwa.org.au/2017researchupdates
Mark Seymour will present the results of seven of the trials on day two of the 2017 GRDC Grains Research Update, Perth which runs February 27-28 at Crown Perth.
He will also be presenting at the South East Premium Wheat Growers Association Esperance harvest review on February 24 and Albany zone Grain Research Update in Kendenup on March 7.