SARDI pulse pathologist Dr Jenny Davidson urges a strategic use of herbicide-tolerant varieties to avoid an over-reliance on single varieties.
PHOTO: Emma Leonard
Herbicide-tolerant pulse varieties attracted plenty of interest from more than 100 growers and industry representatives at a recent pulse agronomy field day in South Australia.
Part of this interest stems from the development of herbicide-tolerant pulse varieties being painstakingly slow. Researchers, supported by grower collaborators, scout paddocks looking for mutant plants that have survived multiple herbicide treatments and doses. The result might be one or two plants in every eight to 10 hectares.
To date, Dr Larn McMurray of the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and the Southern Pulse Agronomy team have screened about 200ha in search of imidazolinone-tolerant (imi-tolerant) lentils and faba beans.
While herbicide-tolerant faba bean varieties are said to be several years away, the small-seeded imi-tolerant red lentil PBA Hurricane XT was released in 2014, superseding PBA Herald XT (also an imi-tolerant small-seeded red lentil). These two varieties have improved tolerance to Group B herbicides.
Mary Raynes, of Pulse Australia, estimated 60 per cent of the lentils grown on SA’s Yorke Peninsula in 2014 were planted to PBA Hurricane XT.
Janine Sounness of PB Seeds sees a big future for new green lentil varieties.
PHOTO: Emma Leonard
Unfortunately, the intensity of planting of this single variety has reduced its resistance to ascochyta blight.
At the field day SARDI pulse pathologist Dr Jenny Davidson referred to the importance of using herbicide-tolerant varieties strategically where Group B herbicides will provide the most value.
PBA Jumbo 2, which has improved agronomic characteristics over PBA Hurricane XT, could be an alternative lentil variety in situations where herbicide tolerance is not required.
Dr Davidson is encouraging the use of seed testing to be sure any saved seed is disease-free. Effective disease management for all pulses starts with ensuring that seed is disease-free – testing chickpea seed for traces of ascochyta before seeding is particularly encouraged.
There was also considerable interest at the field day in the large green lentil varieties PBA Giant and PBA Greenfield, which were released for seeding in 2015.
Janine Sounness, commercial manager at PB Seeds, said there were market opportunities for large green lentils and she suggested southern region growers work together to establish sufficient volumes for the container market as a starting point.
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