Southern NSW grower Daniel Fox has the potential to increase the amount of pulse area sown on his 2100 hectare property - to about 25 per cent - and says he is looking forward to what a local pulse group could offer.
He, like other grain growers ranging from north Queenslands Burdekin region to southern NSW, will be supported by a new GRDC initiative aimed at broadening pulse production by diversifying and increasing the area planted.
The Northern Pulse Check - a local extension and communication project for profitable pulse production - will actively engage with growers in all 11 GRDC sub-regions.
Daniels family farm north of Marrar was traditionally a mixed-cropping enterprise but has moved to continuous cropping. This is one of the reasons he sees the need for more pulse crops in his system.
In our continuous-cropping system we need a pulse crop for soil health and weed control, he says.
A group like Pulse Check could help us on the whole for everything from agronomy to marketing.
Last year the Fox family grew 100ha of lentils, which Daniel said increased to 220ha this year.
We have had experience with lupins in the past but lentils are new for us, Daniel says.
In our continuous-cropping system we need a pulse crop for soil health and weed control
Daniel also tried faba beans last year, sowing 110ha of them into double-stacked cereal straw, and he is excited by their potential.
Despite the harsh conditions, he was pleasantly surprised by yields.
It was one of the driest seasons but we managed 1.8 tonnes per hectare for faba beans and 1.3t/ha for lentils," he says.
If thats as bad as it can go, then its not losing too much.
We are learning and finding that storage and marketing are critical for improving the profitability of these pulses.