Jason Brand, Southern Pulse Agronomy
Pulses are an integral part of many farming systems in southeastern Australia, delivering well known and proven rotational, economic and environmental benefits to growers. In recent seasons we have continued to see pulses expand their areas of production into dryer cropping zones in line with improvements in varieties and modern farming systems. These improvements combined with good prices for some pulses and a clearer understanding of economic benefits in rotation have seen pulses as a profitable option for many growers.
Research from the Southern Pulse Agronomy Program and Pulse Breeding Australia demonstrates some great opportunities moving forward. Several PBA field pea, lupin, chickpea, faba bean and lentil lines display improved adaptation to the low-medium rainfall zone (LRZ) having been developed in the run of drought years, through the late 2000’s. Current advanced PBA breeding lines will have even greater adaptation to the LRZ and climate change, encompassing traits such as different flowering times and durations, boron and salt tolerance and high relative yield under drought conditions. Correct agronomic management of these superior lines in these environments will enable successful incorporation into the farming system.
Below we highlight some research that has been ongoing at the southern Mallee site (Curyo) of the Southern Pulse Agronomy program (SPA) that may have implications for the future of pulses in the Mallee.