Research is under way to find out why damage occurs to pulses during processing and what can be done about it. Outdated and inappropriate equipment may hold the clue.
An industry estimate is that only about 70 per cent of each tonne of seed processed finishes up as a first-grade product likely to command premium prices, with the rest being flour or kibble which has to be sold into lower-priced markets.
In a GRDC-supported project, David Moser of the University of SA is collecting pulse samples from processors plus sourcing or manufacturing equipment to improve the marketability of pulses.
"Australian processors currently use a mixture of centuries-old Indian technology and technology from other industries such as peanuts and rice," Dr Moser said.
"As a result the equipment is not ideally suited to pulses such as chickpeas, field peas and lentils, and very significant damage and losses occur."
Contact: Dr David Moser 08 8302 3614