Pulse varieties and agronomy update

Larn McMurray,1 Michael Lines1, Andrew Ware2, Jeff Paul3, Jason Brand4, Tony Leonforte4 and Kristy Hobson5  1SARDI - Clare;  2SARDI - Pt Lincoln; 3University of Adelaide - Waite Research Precinct; 4Victorian Department of Primary Industries – Horsham;  5New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Tamworth.

GRDC project codes: UA00127, DAV00113, DAV00072, DAV00071, DAN00151, DAS00107

Keywords: lentil, field Pea, chickpea, faba bean, lupin

Take home messages

  • A large number of pulse variety options exist. Careful variety selection through knowing the agronomic, disease and marketing strengths and weakness of each variety is required to maximize pulse production and returns.
  • Post sowing pre-emergent applications of Group C herbicides were often damaging in pulse crops in 2012. Careful consideration of application timing and rate, particularly under conditions of low and variable moisture, is required. The availability of the herbicide tolerant lentil varieties (XT) may reduce the need for this practice in this crop.
  • Plant disease levels and seed quality issues were generally very low in 2012.  This was due primarily to the abnormally dry spring conditions.  Implementation of recommended disease and harvest management strategies will still be required to successfully grow and market pulse varieties under more normal spring conditions in SA.
  • The chickpea area continues to grow in SA and the crop provides a good agronomic and marketing alternative to lentil and field pea where they can be grown successfully. Careful paddock selection, with a focus on paddocks with low herbicide resistant rye grass backgrounds and deeper sub soils is required.


2012 in review


Pulse grain yields were generally average to slightly below average in 2012 however, grain quality was a good standard, and with freedom from most of the issues that incurred in the wetter harvests of recent years.  

Despite very dry spring conditions the combination of relatively mild spring temperatures and a saving October rainfall event in many areas allowed pulses, even mid to later maturing varieties, to mature and fill pods better than expected. Generally the better grain yields were associated with paddocks with deeper sub soils, those sown earlier, those with significant residue cover and those where summer weeds were well controlled.

Group C herbicide damage (simazine, metribuzin and to a lesser extent diuron) was a common occurrence in earlier sown crops on lighter soil types particularly where soil moisture levels were marginal and variable.  Varietal differences in herbicide sensitivity were observed but generally where damage happened, significant reductions in crop establishment and increases in plant injury generally occurred regardless of the variety used. This was most likely due to the rate of herbicide applied being too high for the particular crop, soil type and moisture conditions at application last year. In years where soil moisture is low and variable at seeding time, extreme caution is required with Group C applications in pulse crops particularly on lighter soil types.  The availability of the XT herbicide tolerant lentil varieties will help growers to overcome this issue.

Foliar disease levels were very low in all pulses last year due to the absence of spring rains. In many cases the standard podding spray applications to prevent yield and quality losses were not required, however last year was an exception and a return to more normal spring rainfall patterns in future seasons will require application of these standard treatments where recommended. The exception to low disease incidence in 2012 was bacterial blight in field pea (see article by SARDI’s Jenny Davidson elsewhere in proceedings).  Root diseases such as rhizoctonia were observed in some crops in low rainfall areas but these were generally at low levels.

Update on new variety releases and agronomic research

 PBR logodenotes Plant Breeder’s Rights apply


PBA Ace  (CIPAL803)

PBA AcePBR logo is a disease resistant, vigorous growing, mid flowering and maturing line with high yield potential and broad adaptation.  It will provide an alternative to Nugget in all regions and PBA FlashPBR logo and PBA BlitzPBR logo in favourable lentil growing areas where crop topping and drought tolerance are not major priorities. It has a good disease resistance profile with resistance to ascochyta blight (AB) and moderate resistance to botrytis grey mould (BGM).  PBA AcePBR logo is the highest yielding variety long term in SA and Victoria but due to its later maturity than PBA BoltPBR logo, PBA BlitzPBR logo and PBA FlashPBR logo is likely to be better suited to areas where mid maturing varieties are favoured. Some level of shattering has been observed under some conditions in PBA AcePBR logo at maturity but it is unlikely to cause significant yield loss. PBA AcePBR logo has a grey seed coat colour with a medium seed size. It is licensed to PB Seeds.

PBA Bolt  (CIPAL801)

PBA BoltPBR logo is a mid flowering but early to mid maturing lentil with excellent lodging resistance at maturity and high yield in drought years and dry areas.  It will provide an alternative to PBA FlashPBR logo in all areas where AB, harvestability and drought tolerance are major issues but particularly in the mallee areas of Victoria where it has consistently performed well. PBA BoltPBR logo has good resistance to AB but is moderately susceptible to BGM. It has a grey seed coat colour with a medium seed size and is licensed to PB Seeds.

PBA Herald XT

PBA Herald XTPBR logo has improved tolerance to the herbicide imazethapyr (*permit use in SA, registration pending) and the herbicide flumetsulam, plus reduced sensitivity to some sulfonylurea and imidazolinone herbicide residues.   However it is important to note that product label rates, plant-back periods and directions for use must still be adhered to. It is a mid to late flowering and maturing lentil and similar to Nipper in many agronomic characteristics, including short height, seed shape, grey seed coat colour and grain yield.  However it was lower yielding than this variety in SA in 2012. It has very good disease resistance including resistance to ascochyta blight (AB), and moderate resistance to botrytis grey mould (BGM). Limited herbicide tolerance testing suggests PBA Herald XTPBR logo, like NipperPBR logo, is more sensitive than Nugget, PBA BlitzPBR logo and PBA FlashPBR logo to high rates of group C herbicides such as metribuzin and simazine and caution is urged with the application of these products particularly on variable soil types.

 PBA Herald XTPBR logo has a very low level of seeds with a black seed coat, typically at frequencies of 0.1% or less. These black coated seeds are classified at receival point as seeds of contrasting colour with a limit of 1% allowed. PBA Herald XTPBR logo is commercialised by PB Seeds.

Potential 2014 Release - CIPAL1101

CIPAL1101 is likely to be the second herbicide tolerant lentil variety to be released from PBA.  It is expected to be released later this year through PB Seeds.  It is developed from a cross between PBA FlashPBR logo and an imi tolerant line from a similar background to PBA Herald XTPBR logo.  Herbicide tolerance is similar to that of PBA Herald XTPBR logo , however, grain yield and adaptation is superior to this variety.   Seed size is small and disease reaction is similar to that of PBA Herald XTPBR logo but superior to PBA FlashPBR logo.

Inter-row sowing into standing stubble residue


Agronomic trial work conducted by the Southern Pulse Agronomy project has shown that yield benefits can be achieved through inter-row sowing of lentil into retained cereal stubble in lower rainfall environments. Our results in 2012 (Figure 1) are an example of the response found and show that not only were yield increases achieved by stubble retention, but under some circumstances a further yield increase can be achieved by sowing into inter-row standing stubble compared with slashed (non-standing) stubble. Interactions between stubble treatment, time of sowing and variety have occurred in all three years of experiments between 2010 and 2012.  The increase in grain yield from sowing into standing stubble has been more evident at later sowing times in these experiments.  The increase in plant height that results from this stubble treatment compared to stubble removal or slashing is thought to have a greater impact on grain yield and harvestability under situations of moisture stress and/or reduced plant biomass, both of which result from late sowing.  The reason(s) for differential variety response to retained standing stubble is unclear but possibly could be due to complex interactions between the timing of soil moisture stress events and variations in variety maturity timings, plant biomass levels and plant architecture.  The early maturing and more erect varieties like PBA BlitzPBR logo have tended to benefit the most from this practice.



Figure 1. Mean grain yield (t/ha) of eight lentil varieties sown at three sowing times and three stubble management practices

Figure 1. Mean grain yield (t/ha) of eight lentil varieties sown at three sowing times and three stubble management practices at Pinery, South Australia in 2012.  Error bars indicate significant differences between stubble management practices within each sowing time.


Field Pea


As in 2011, PBA GunyahPBR logo and PBA TwilightPBR logo generally had grain yields slightly lower than KaspaPBR logo in 2012 NVT and PBA yield trials.  Many pea yields were in excess of 2 t/ha and in these situations long term analysis indicates KaspaPBR logo will generally be higher yielding than the earlier maturing PBA varieties. In lower yielding situations data indicates the earlier maturing varieties will generally be higher yielding than the later maturing KaspaPBR logo.  SARDI is currently investigating at a number of locations across SA, mixtures of these three varieties in comparison with the individual lines.  This work will continue for a number of years, reusing the seed from each location to identify any potential benefit for growers using a mix of these varieties to manage pea yields across variable seasonal conditions.


PBA Pearl 

PBA PearlPBR logo is a semi-leafless white pea variety which is broadly adapted and has had high yields in evaluation trials in all districts. It has good early vigour and an erect growth habit, with excellent standability at maturity. It is early to mid flowering, and produces non sugar-type pods however, is not prone to shattering (similar to PBA OuraPBR logo and Parafield). It has a favourable disease resistance profile, with good tolerance to bacterial blight and good resistance to downy mildew and Bean Leaf Roll virus.  PBA PearlPBR logois commercialised by Seednet.

PBA Hayman

PBA HaymanPBR logo is a late flowering and late maturing conventional pea suitable for forage production as an alternative to vetch. It produces small white seed, and has lower seed yield than MorganPBR logo (which is generally considered a dual purpose variety) but has higher biomass production.  PBA HaymanPBR logo also has improved resistance to powdery mildew over MorganPBR logo. Seed is expected to be available from Seednet for 2013 sowings.

Two advanced field pea lines are currently under multiplication for potential release in 2013.  OZP0805 is an early-mid flowering and maturing ‘Kaspa type’ (ie round seeded) dun field pea offering improved powdery mildew and virus resistances (Bean Leaf Roll and Pea Seed Borne Mosaic viruses). It provides the same agronomic benefits as KaspaPBR logo (e.g. lodging and shattering resistance), and will provide a reliable alternative in those areas where powdery mildew and viruses are regular problems. OZP1103 is a conventional dun field pea offering a forage option with high early season dry matter production and high yield potential in long seasons. OZP1103 has improved bacterial blight resistance, is resistant to powdery mildew, and shows improved boron and salt tolerance. These lines are currently under multiplication in SA and are expected to be available through Seednet for 2014 sowings.



Faba Bean

PBA Rana

PBA RanaPBR logo (tested as AF10060/15-1 or 974*(611*974)/15-1) is a vigorous plant with good stem strength, mid to late flowering (similar to Nura) and mid maturity (later than FarahPBR logo and NuraPBR logo). It is well adapted to high rainfall, long growing seasons. Highest yields have been achieved in the Lower South East, Central Hills/ Fleurieu Peninsula and the high rainfall sites in the lower and mid-North where long term yields are equal to or greater than Fiesta VFPBR logo and FarahPBR logo.  PBA RanaPBR logo has good resistance to ascochyta blight and is moderately susceptible to chocolate spot. It has shown very useful field resistance (MS-MR) to rust, better than other commercial varieties. PBA RanaPBR logo produces large, plump and light brown seed suited to Egyptian market requirements for that grade.  It represents a unique and different category for faba bean marketing.  PBA RanaPBR logo is licensed to Viterra and an end point royalty applies.

Potential New Release - AF05069-2

This line has very good yield, wide adaptation and very good ascochyta resistance. It has other disease resistances equal to or better than current varieties. Seed size is expected to be comparable in size and colour to FiestaPBR logo and FarahPBR logo. A potential release in 2015 is likely.

Improved herbicide tolerance – Dili Mao, SARDI.

A three year GRDC funded project led by SARDI in conjunction with the University of Adelaide investigating improved weed control options in pulses has developed faba bean lines with increased tolerance to imazapyr and lentil lines with increased tolerance to post emergent applications of metribuzin through induced mutation techniques.  Experiments will be conducted this year to validate the level of tolerance identified in both these selected lines and in lines developed from crosses which were made between the putatively tolerant lines and commercial varieties. If an agronomically useful level of tolerance is identified, these lines will be multiplied and field validated for potential release through the PBA programs. Further work is ongoing in both these crops to develop varieties with tolerance to other herbicides that have differing modes of action and weed control spectra.


The availability of new desi and kabuli varieties along with the continued forecast of low lentil grain prices and the ability to use a unique herbicide option continues to drive interest in growing chickpeas in SA. Area sown to the crop in 2012 was at the highest level since the outbreak of AB in the late nineties. The crop is a viable pulse option in many areas of SA providing sound agronomic management is implemented.  It can be used as a way of managing marketing and production risks associated with growing lentil and field pea due to differences in overseas target markets, crop maturity and herbicide options.  Before growing chickpea key criteria to be considered include:

  • paddock selection; including neutral to alkaline pH, deeper sub soils and low weed backgrounds particularly resistant rye grass
  • disease control; including seed treatment and a minimum of podding sprays dependent upon variety chosen
  • the use of group N innoculum
  • sowing towards the end of the seeding window to reduce the occurrence of cold temperatures during pod setting and also to improve weed control
  • careful consideration of storage and marketing options in line with both the chickpea type and variety to be grown.


PBA Striker (CICA0603)

PBA StrikerPBR logo is a high yielding desi chickpea with moderate resistance to AB.  It is an early flowering and maturing variety with very good early vigour levels and will provide a high yielding alternative to all chickpea varieties in the short season, medium to low rainfall environments of western and southern Australia. PBA StrikerPBR logo has a similar plant type to PBA SlasherPBR logo with larger seed size than this variety and all other southern and western Australian desi varieties.  Seed of PBA StrikerPBR logo is also light in colour and has very good milling characteristics. AB resistance of PBA Striker is less than PBA SlasherPBR logoand Genesis 090 but improved over AlmazPBR logo and Genesis 836 however, it is likely to require both vegetative and reproductive foliar fungicide sprays. Due to this lower AB rating than PBA SlasherPBR logo and its early maturity, PBA StrikerPBR logo is not recommended for high rainfall and long growing season districts.  Seed is licensed to Seednet.

Ambar (WACPE2136)

An early flowering and maturing desi type chickpea released from Western Australia in 2012 and rated as resistant to AB. AmbarPBR logo is high yielding in WA with similar yields to PBA SlasherPBR logo but has had very limited evaluation in southern Australia.  Seed size is smaller than PBA SlasherPBR logoand PBA StrikerPBR logo but is light in colour.  Seed is licensed to Heritage Seeds.

Neelam (WACPE2155)

A mid flowering and maturing desi type chickpea released from Western Australia in 2012 and rated as resistant to AB. NeelamPBR logo has very high yields in WA generally higher than PBA SlasherPBR logo. It has had limited evaluation in southern Australia and yields to date have generally been similar to PBA StrikerPBR logo.  NeelamPBR logo has a medium tall plant height, taller than PBA SlasherPBR logo with a seed size smaller than PBA SlasherPBR logo and PBA StrikerPBR logo but light in colour.  Seed is licensed to Heritage Seeds.

GenesisTM Kalkee (previously tested as GenesisTM 115 and Kalkee)

GenesisTM Kalkee is a medium to large seeded kabuli type similar to Genesis TM 114 but with later flowering and larger seed size. Kalkee TM has the largest seed size of all commercial kabuli types hence more able to meet the size requirements of premium high valued markets. However yield and disease resistance are inferior to the small kabuli types but generally equivalent to Almaz and Genesis TM 114 in SA meaning it is likely to require strategic fungicide applications during the year. It is commercialised by Australian Agricultural Crop Technologies.



PBA Gunyidi

PBA GunyidiPBR logo (tested as WALAN2289) was released in WA in September 2011. Limited seed is available to eastern states growers to plant in 2013. PBA GunyidiPBR logo has been released as a potential MandelupPBR logo replacement that improves on MandelupPBR logo by having reduced susceptibility to pod shatter. This will give growers the option of being able to harvest later without incurring significant losses. PBA GunyidiPBR logo is moderately resistant to anthracnose and phomopsis. It flowers and matures early and is resistant to metribuzin herbicide, but more susceptible to damage from Eclipse®. In four years of evaluation in South Australia PBA Gunyidi PBR logohas yielded 1% lower than MandelupPBR logo across the state. Seed is available through Seednet.

Contact details

Larn McMurray
SARDI PO Box 822 Clare, SA, 5453

GRDC Project code: UA00127, DAV00113, DAV00072, DAV00071, DAN00151, DAS00107