Sleeker, more compliant lupins

Sleeker shapes: Dr Miles Dracup introduces restricted branching into high-yielding lupin.

The often disappointing yields from otherwise good lupin crops may become a thing of the past with research results from Agriculture Western Australia and the Cooperative Research Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA).

Growers through the GRDC are supporting a full evaluation of restricted-branching lupins as a basis for future lupin breeding.

Restricted-branching lupins are earlier maturing and more harvestable, with a higher harvest index and greater yield. They usually have only a main stem and first order branches, and form pods rather than branches at the base of apical leaves on the main stem and branches. Because of this they do not form the highly vegetative canopies with poor harvest index which are often found in long season or high rainfall environments.

After three seasons of lupin breeding trials throughout WA, some lines are averaging more than a 20 per cent yield advantage over Merritt.

Agriculture Western Australia lupin physiologist Miles Dracup said that restricted-branching lupins had several potential advantages which should translate to higher and more stable yields for growers.

  • The plant is forced to direct its energies into seed filling rather than additional branches which may not be necessary to achieve a high yield.
  • The seeds fill faster and mature earlier. This means that more of the seed filling will be done under favourable conditions, so the final yield should be less sensitive to the vagaries of the 'finish' and thus less variable between the seasons.
  • Pods are all held at a similar level close to the top of the canopy so they have little shading and can photosynthesise and therefore contribute more to the filling of their seeds. This will also make harvesting easier and more efficient.

Subprogram 2.4.05 Contact: Dr Miles Dracup 09 380 1430 or 09 368 3785