A new collaborative research project across northern NSW will bring northern region grain growers closer to maintaining healthy levels of pulse crops in their winter rotations.
Dr Guy McMullen, NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) research leader at Tamworth Agricultural Institute (TAI) says the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)-funded projects will deliver benefits to growers almost immediately.
“Over the past few years we’ve had highs and lows in pulse production and the aim is to even out plantings and yields to a more consistent level each year,” Dr McMullen said.
“This is critical because of the benefits to soil and plant health offered by pulses and legumes, including the disease and weed management break crop effect and the nitrogen-fixing ability of these crops.”
He said major issues in the northern cropping region from Dubbo, NSW to the Queensland border – including crown rot and herbicide resistance – could be tackled via a robust commitment to crop sequencing and increased pulse plantings.
The research involves NSW DPI researchers and staff at Trangie, Tamworth, and Narrabri.
“We are looking at determining the attainable yield targets in a given season and the agronomy package to help growers achieve those levels reliably,” Dr McMullen said.
“This includes the main agronomy tools such as row spacing and fertiliser management, sowing date and includes the varieties that are coming on the market.
“In chickpeas we are seeing very large increases in disease resistance, particularly ascochyta blight, and good resistance and tolerance to phytophthora via the GRDC investment in prebreeding and breeding.”
He says the research focus is harnessing genetic gain and delivering benefits in the paddock for growers, particularly in chickpeas and faba beans for northern NSW
“Benefits will be quickly realised for growers via the varieties being developed by Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA) because we’ll be able to deliver good agronomic packages to back up those varieties, achieve yield potential and speed up adoption,” Dr McMullen said.
“Growers will receive the latest research information on a seasonal basis which is focused on their local production areas.”
For more information on GRDC-funded research, visit www.grdc.com.au.
Video caption: Guy McMullen, NSW DPI says new research should deliver benefits to growers almost immediately.
Audio download: Click here to download an audio grab for this article. Audio is of Guy McMullen, NSW DPI centre director, Tamworth Agricultural Institute
Photo caption: Keith Harris, GRDC northern panellist; John Hamparsum, “Drayton”, Breeza; and Guy McMullen, NSW DPI centre director, Tamworth Agricultural Institute discuss GRDC research gains.
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Dr Guy McMullen
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