New varieties maintain pulse momentum

Pulse breeders continue to drive the Australian industry with seven advanced new varieties coming out of the national breeding program this spring

The first kabuli chickpea to be released by Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA) is one of seven new pulse varieties launched this spring.

PBA also released a new desi chickpea, a new lupin, a new lentil and three field peas. All of these varieties, except for the lupin, were launched at a PBA field day in South Australia on 21 October. There will be no new faba bean releases this year.

PBA is a joint venture of the GRDC, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA), the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI), the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Queensland (DAFFQ), the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI), the University of Adelaide, the University of Sydney and Pulse Australia.

Photo of field pea variety PBA Wharton

New field pea variety PBA WhartonPBR logo, a Kaspa-type variety suited to northern NSW with its resistance to pea seed-borne mosaic and bean leaf roll viruses.

PHOTO: Peter Kennedy

Photo of PBA Hayman, a field pea variety, and a vetch crop

New, robust field pea variety PBA HaymanPBR logo (right), alongside a vetch crop

PHOTO: Peter Kennedy 

Photo of PBA Coogee, a field pea variety

New field pea variety PBA CoogeePBR logo.

PHOTO: Peter Kennedy 

Photo of PBA Barlock, a lupin variety from Pulse Breeding Australia

PBA BarlockPBR logo, the new lupin variety from Pulse Breeding Australia.

PHOTO: Bevan Buirchell

Kabuli comeback

The light, well-wrinkled coat of PBA MonarchPBR logo (the new kabuli chickpea) has already met with favourable feedback in Middle Eastern markets. “It is earlier-flowering and maturing than previous medium-seeded kabuli varieties, which gives it better adaptation to the shorter, more favourable season environments such as SA, and the shorter-season environments of Victoria,” says Dr Kristy Hobson of the NSW DPI, who leads the chickpea breeding program.

PBA MonarchPBR logo has a similar seed size to AlmazPBR logo and it yields at least 10 per cent more than AlmazPBR logo, Genesis™ 090 or Kalkee. But it is still moderately susceptible to ascochyta.

“It’s therefore an economic decision for growers. PBA MonarchPBR logo yields more than, for example, AlmazPBR logo, but then are you prepared to budget for the extra fungicides required for PBA MonarchPBR logo compared with Genesis™ 090? Are you set up to get those on time to protect the yield?”

Dr Hobson says PBA MonarchPBR logo has already attracted significant interest, not only in traditional kabuli-growing areas, but also in the north because of improved adaptation due to earlier flowering and maturity.

“It does fit the northern environment better than previous kabuli varieties, but it is still susceptible to Phytophthora root rot. And there have been some bad experiences with weathering in the north. We are encouraging growers to consider the risks.”

Meanwhile, the new desi variety PBA MaidenPBR logo has a larger seed size and a lighter yellow-golden colour – desirable attributes on the Indian subcontinent. It is intended to complement existing varieties PBA StrikerPBR logo and PBA SlasherPBR logo.

“The target market for PBA MaidenPBR logo is anywhere that the chickpea is consumed whole, for example Bangladesh and India. Varieties such as PBA SlasherPBR logo are smaller-seeded but have a higher milling yield, so are better suited to the split markets,” Dr Hobson says.

PBA MaidenPBR logo and PBA MonarchPBR logo will be available through Seednet.

Lupin boon for WA

The new lupin variety PBA BarlockPBR logo (also available through Seednet) takes its name from one of several Aboriginal words for a grass tree common to the coastal sandplain where it is particularly adapted. It has high levels of anthracnose resistance, equal to that of TanjilPBR logo and WongaPBR logo, and metribuzin tolerance that is greater than TanjilPBR logo and equal to PBA MandelupPBR logo.

Dr Bevan Buirchell, senior plant breeder (lupins) with DAFWA, says the variety will be well suited to the high and medium-rainfall northern zones of the WA lupin growing area. PBA BarlockPBR logo yields two to three per cent more than the most popular variety, PBA MandelupPBR logo, but has smaller seed.

“It’s a nice robust variety, looks a lot like TanjilPBR logo, has small seed like TanjilPBR logo, but yields 12 per cent more. It also has good phomopsis resistance and is early flowering and early maturing,” Dr Buirchell says.

Dr Buirchell says PBA BarlockPBR logo has also performed well in NSW and some areas of SA.

New lentil

PBA Hurricane XTPBR logo is a new small red lentil variety from the PBA program. Like the variety PBA Herald XTPBR logo, released in 2011, the new variety is tolerant of Group B herbicides, including imazethapyr. It also has good resistance to ascochyta blight.

“PBA Hurricane XTPBR logo incorporates the same herbicide tolerance as PBA Herald XTPBR logo but in a higher-yielding, better agronomically adapted variety,” says the Victorian DEPI’s Dr Matthew Rodda, head of the PBA lentil program.

He says it also yields between five and 12 per cent more than PBA Herald XTPBR logo and NipperPBR logo (another small red lentil variety), has taller plants, and flowers and matures earlier.

PBA Hurricane XTPBR logo will be available through commercial partner PB Seeds.

Field pea

Of the three new field peas to be released this spring, PBA WhartonPBR logo should appeal to growers in northern NSW, with its resistance to pea seed-borne mosaic and bean leaf roll viruses.

“This is the first KaspaPBR logo type variety released by PBA that would be suitable to that kind of region,” says the Victorian DEPI’s Peter Kennedy, who leads the field pea program. “It’s also early flowering and high-yielding, giving it better yield stability than KaspaPBR logo in some of the shorter and mid-season climates.”

The vigorous PBA HaymanPBR logo is being marketed as a fodder variety with the potential to replace vetch in areas where vetch has been more difficult to grow, such as the Mallee. “PBA HaymanPBR logo produces quite large amounts of biomass mid-to-late season. It’s also soft-seeded, so it doesn’t emerge into the following year’s crop,” Mr Kennedy says.

Meanwhile, PBA CoogeePBR logo could be grown for seed or forage. “Its grain yield is quite good, while it also puts on a lot of biomass, so the aim with this particular variety is to allow a grower to choose during the season whether to grow it for grain or cut it for hay.”

Mr Kennedy says that both PBA CoogeePBR logo and PBA HaymanPBR logo will be applicable to the usual field pea regions, although PBA HaymanPBR logo might be riskier in the drier regions because it is later flowering. All three varieties will be available through Seednet.

More information:

Dr Kristy Hobson,
02 6763 1174,;

Dr Matthew Rodda,
0427 815 659,;

Peter Kennedy,
0408 560 312,;;


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GRDC Project Code DAV00118, DAV00119, DAN00151, DAW00181

Region South, North