Researchers have identified two chickpea lines and two lupin varieties that produced significantly higher yields under tough conditions in Western Australia.
"Despite the worst drought conditions for 25 years, two new chickpea lines introduced from India yielded more than 50 per cent above the standard variety, Sona," said research team leader, Neil Turner of CSIRO Plant Industry.
However, he said because of the need to introduce Ascochyta resistance into the new lines, it will be at least three years before the release of any new variety.
Dr Turner is leading a team of researchers which, over the past three years, has worked with more than 70 genotypes of chickpea in five locations across Australia from Merredin in Western Australia to Warwick in Queensland, and at seven locations in India.
The team includes researchers from Agriculture WA, the University of Western Australia's Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
Dr Turner said the findings have great potential because they could provide financial benefits for pulse farmers in dryland cropping regions and help maintain Australian export earnings in poor seasons.
The project to identify characteristics associated with superior chickpea lines under dryland conditions was funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the GRDC with collaboration from the National Chickpea Improvement Program.
New lupins showing their stuff
GRDC research support has also helped to show that two new lupin varieties, Belara and Quilinock, produced a staggering 77 per cent increase in yield over the standard variety, Merritt — despite last season's extreme drought conditions in WA.
"These new lupin varieties have shown to be incredibly superior to those varieties released in the early nineties, and could lead to significant financial benefit to Australian farmers," Dr Turner added.
Contact: Dr Neil Turner 08 9333 6612
Ground Cover will endeavour to 'road test' the new lupin varieties in the next issue. Any grower willing to testify about the performance of Belara and Quilinock is invited to contact the editor