SA to be at the heart of pulse industry attention

Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 16 Oct 2013

SARDI scientists Larn McMurray and Dili Mao

Pulse enthusiasts from throughout Australia and beyond will be beating a path to South Australia this month for Pulse Breeding Australia's inaugural pulse industry conference.

All facets of pulse production – from breeding and growing to marketing and consumption – will be on the agenda during the PBA conference on October 20-23.

Supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), the event will be attended by growers, agronomists, marketers and researchers and will involve a field day and two conference days focusing on research and development.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair Keith Pengilley, who will open proceedings in Adelaide, said the first-of-its-kind pulse conference was aimed at bringing all industry personnel together to examine ways of expanding pulse production within Australian cropping systems.

“Pulses are already an important part of our farming systems, but there is an opportunity for more growers to be growing more pulse crops,” Mr Pengilley said.

“Incorporating pulses into cropping rotations promotes many advantages – not only can they be profitable crops in their own right, but the water use efficiency and nitrogen benefits to subsequent cereal crops can generate increased yields and profits.”

Mr Pengilley said the GRDC continued to invest in the development of improved pulse varieties through PBA’s world-class breeding program, which was providing growers with varieties that achieved higher yields, had resistance to major diseases and stresses, and had grain qualities that enhanced market competitiveness.

The PBA Inaugural Pulse Conference, themed “Expanding Horizons”, will build on existing collaboration across the five temperate pulse crops (chickpeas, lentils, field peas, lupins and faba beans), while providing an opportunity for the pulse industry to seek innovative solutions to developing better varieties for Australian growers.

The event will begin on Sunday, October 20, with a welcome reception in Adelaide, followed by a field day on Monday, October 21, at the Mid North High Rainfall Farming Systems Group trial site at Tarlee, where admission and lunch will be free of charge to growers, advisers and conference delegates.

Field day organiser Larn McMurray, of the SA Research and Development Institute (SARDI), said the day would be an opportunity to recognise the significant advances in Australian pulse breeding over the years.

Mr McMurray said field day attendees would be able to compare historic varieties with the more productive and resilient varieties being grown today. The Tarlee field day will also be the launching pad for new PBA chickpea, lentil and field pea varieties.

International keynote speakers, Dr Eric Johnson, a weed biologist from Scott Research Farm Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Hakan Bahceci, Dubai-based President of the International Pulse Trade and Industries Confederation (CICILS IPTIC), will speak during the lunch break.

The afternoon’s program will feature concurrent sessions led by industry experts on topics such as rhizobium and nodulation; forage peas; future traits; herbicide tolerance; weed control; stubble retention; pulses in disc systems; disease management; grain quality; and markets. 

The two conference days at The Sebel Playford in Adelaide will have a development and research focus.

Following a keynote speech by Hakan Bahceci, who will explore the implications of market demand for growers and breeders, topics on the Tuesday will revolve around challenges facing the pulse industry.

Issues relating to quality, agronomy, exports, marketability, weed control and legume nitrogen fixation will be discussed by growers, pulse breeders and researchers.

Tuesday’s program will also include a panel discussion on why Australians should be eating more pulses and the barriers to increased consumption.

The Wednesday program will have a research theme, with Dr Bunyamin Tar’an opening the day with a keynote address on new innovations in breeding for world markets, after which session topics will relate to the aims and progress of breeding programs, advanced genomic for breeding, physiology and genomics, frost tolerance and disease protection.

PBA has recruited the input of well-known Adelaide chefs Simon Bryant and Ragini Dey to design a special conference dinner menu featuring a range of pulse recipes. They will also participate in Tuesday’s panel discussion.

To ensure conference delegates get their fill of grain legumes, The Sebel Playford has created a pulse-infused menu for the entire conference.

To register or for more information about the conference, visit the PBA website at and follow the links.


Caption: SARDI scientists Larn McMurray and Dili Mao at the Mid North High Rainfall Farming Systems Group trial site at Tarlee where the inaugural pulse conference field day will be held.

Media Interviews

Keith Pengilley, GRDC panel chair
0448 015539

Fleur Winter, PBA
0417 926 033


Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
0409 675100

Region South, North, West