Belara and Quilinock narrow-leafed lupins, the latest releases from the GRDC-supported lupin breeding program at Agriculture Western Australia, have hit the bullseye with lupin growers in both the west and the east.
Belara, first registered in 1997, was selected for high yield and improved resistance to Phomopsis stem blight and has been in the hands of growers for three years.
Frank Michael, farming yellow sandplain and sand-over-gravel soils — prime lupin country — 40 km east of Moora in the Western Australian wheatbelt, turned to Belara for its higher yield two years ago.
“We had been growing Gungurru quite happily, but tried Belara because of its reputed higher yield,” Mr Michael said. That promise has been more than fulfilled with the Michaels estimating 20 per cent greater yield from Belara on their property.
Early assist to weed control
Just as important, Belara has become a keystone in the Michaels’ intensive 1,350-hectare cropping operation. “We are nearly 100 per cent crop and control of herbicide-resistant ryegrass and wild radish is vital to our operation.”
The Michaels crop-top most of their lupins each year using Gramoxone at 850-1,000 ml/ha plus oil and obtain good control of weed seed set.
“The earliness of Belara (1-2 days earlier than Gungurru) and its more uniform ripening have allowed us to ‘crop-top’ much more effectively and without loss of yield,” Mr Michael said. “We then use a chaff cart at harvest and dump the material in our tag (tagasaste) paddocks, where the cattle love it.”
Mr Michael describes the height of Belara as acceptable (similar to Gungurru), but would like to see it higher to ease harvesting problems. “We are all no-till and sowing the Belara into standing stubbles seems to help to achieve a greater height to the first pod.”
Mr Michael’s change to a two cereal one lupin rotation (from the traditional one to one: wheat-lupin), together with retention of cereal stubbles and no-till sowing has all helped to control brown leaf spot to which Belara is rated ‘VS’.
The yield advantage of Belara is confirmed by Bruce Piper of nearby Bindi Bindi. “Belara is the best lupin I have grown on my property yet,” said an enthusiastic Mr Piper.
“I was a bit worried by its susceptibility to brown leaf spot and to virus diseases, but we always use Sumislex or Rovral at full label rates and have had no brown leaf spot problems even on paddocks that had to be burned.”
Mr Piper also uses an aphid antifeedant usually applied at the same time as in-crop herbicides and has seen no problems with aphids.
The high Phomopsis stem blight resistance of Belara is another plus for Mr Michael, who runs 100 head of cattle in addition to his cropping operation.
The cattle are run on tagasaste over winter and moved onto clean weed-free stubbles in summer. “With cattle prices high, lower levels of Phomopsis on the lupin stubbles is just one less problem to worry about.”
Registered in 1999, Quilinock is the highest-yielding lupin yet released and is still undergoing seed build-up in the hands of growers. It has been recommended for the central and eastern wheatbelt in Western Australia, and potentially for lower-rainfall areas of eastern Australia.
It has some brown leaf spot resistance and is moderately resistant to CMV, but is susceptible to Anthracnose and despite its high yield lodging may restrict its use in high-rainfall areas.
Jim and Ryan Dennis, farming on red loams 20 km north of Wagga Wagga in NSW, were impressed by the performance of Quilinock last year.
“We ordered the seed, but it didn’t arrive until way too late for lupin sowing around here,” Mr Dennis said. “We put in 10 acres (4 ha) in mid-June without much hope, then there was a hailstorm that battered the plants, but we still harvested 8 tonnes off the patch.”
The Dennises grow Albus lupins, but gave away round (narrow-leafed) lupin growing a few years ago because of poor prices. This year they have 30 ha of Quilinock, sown in May, and are looking forward to the results.
Program 2.4.3 Contact: Mr Frank Michael 08 9654 3041 Mr Bruce Piper 08 9654 3067 Mr Jim Dennis 02 6922 9232
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