Southern growers saw three new varieties added to their pulse portfolio at the Southern Pulse Agronomy (SPA) field day, which marked the first day of the Australian Pulse Conference in Horsham, Victoria.
The trifecta of new variety releases adapted to medium and high rainfall areas included PBA Highland XT (PBR) red lentil, PBA Amberley (PBR) faba bean and PBA Royal (PBR) kabuli chickpea.
These cultivars were developed through Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA), which is an unincorporated joint venture with GRDC investment.
PBA Amberley (PBR) faba bean
Speaking at the field day at Vectis, 15 kilometres west of Horsham, University of Adelaide faba bean breeder Jeff Paull emphasised the new variety's disease resistance credentials and increased yield potential.
Dr Paull said trials show: "Of all the southern faba bean varieties, PBA Amberley (PBR) is the most resistant to chocolate spot. And it's also resistant to ascochyta blight pathotypes 1 and 2."
Adding to its disease resistance profile, PBA Amberley (PBR) has high yield potential in high rainfall and long growing season areas of south-east Australia where the crop is more exposed to disease risk.
"Its yield is outstanding in some regions, particularly the more southern districts where there is a long growing season," Dr Paull said.
For example, trials show it is highest yielding where faba bean yields push above three tonnes per hectare in Victoria's western districts; South Australia's Lower South East and Mid-North high rainfall areas; and in irrigated trials in Victoria and southern New South Wales.
Its disease resilience means the variety could help growers reduce their expenditure on foliar fungicide spraying in the high rainfall zone (HRZ), lifting the crop's overall profitability.
"The reduced need to apply fungicides could help growers save on spraying costs," Dr Paull said.
"PBA Amberley (PBR) is expected to replace varieties, such as PBA Zahra (PBR) and PBA Rana (PBR), which are currently widely grown in high rainfall areas where disease risk is greatest."
Also helping PBA Amberley (PBR) perform in the HRZ is its improved resistance to lodging and necking (where stem breaks more than half way up the plant).
Necking resistance is an important trait since it is a "significant problem in faba beans, particularly in hot desiccating winds when plants can become limp", Dr Paull said.
PBA Royal (PBR) chickpea
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries chickpea breeder Kristy Hobson said PBA Royal (PBR) chickpea is likely to supplant Genesis™090 as the preferred variety in the southern "heartland of kabuli production".
This is because PBA Royal (PBR) is higher yielding than Genesis™090 in mid to high yielding growing areas across south-east Australia where yield potential ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 tonnes per hectare.
"Its main benefit is in those medium to high yielding environments where it offers a yield advantage over Genesis™090, which is the most widely grown chickpea variety in South Australia and Victoria," Dr Hobson says.
"PBA Royal (PBR) has performed particularly well in South Australia's Mid-North and the Victorian Wimmera."
PBA Royal (PBR), developed through breeding at Agriculture Victoria with GRDC investment, is favoured by a slightly larger seed size, predominantly eight millimetres, compared with Genesis™090.
"In seasons where there is a premium for larger seed size, kabuli growers could make some added profit over Genesis™090 that has a smaller seed size," she said.
Other attributes of this high performance cultivar are its mid-flowering and maturity characteristics, and semi-spreading plant type similar to Genesis™090.
It is rated moderately susceptible (MS) to ascochyta blight (AB) in the southern grains region, but in the northern grains region, it is rated moderately resistant (MR).
PBA Highland XT (PBR) lentil
Against the backdrop of a trial plot showcasing the new red lentil variety, Agriculture Victoria pulse breeder Arun Shunmugam said PBA Highland XT (PBR) is the culmination of a 12-year breeding effort with GRDC investment.
As part of this research effort, the pulse breeding team crossed PBA Bolt (PBR) with a herbicide-tolerant breeding line to develop the new cultivar suited to short, dry growing seasons in the Victorian Mallee region and South Australia.
Enabling PBA Highland XT (PBR) to perform in these seasonal conditions is a genetic profile for early flowering, high early vigour and early to mid-maturity characteristics.
Other beneficial attributes range from Group B herbicide-tolerance to lodging resistance and disease resistance. For instance, PBA Highland XT (PBR) has a provisional rating of moderately resistant (MR) to ascochyta blight.
"It maintains this level of resistance to an isolate that is now virulent on other Group B herbicide-tolerant lentil varieties," Dr Shunmugam said.
PBA Highland XT (PBR) is rated moderately resistant to moderately susceptible (MR/MS) to botrytis grey mould.
This suite of traits contributes to PBA Highland XT's (PBR) long-term yield advantage over PBA Hurricane XT (PBR). Long-term trials showed that compared with PBA Hurricane XT (PBR), it has a 10 per cent yield advantage in the Victorian Mallee; and a six to 17 per cent yield advantage across most of South Australia.
More information: Arun Shunmugam, email@example.com; Jeff Paull, Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org; Jason Able email@example.com; Kristy Hobson, firstname.lastname@example.org