Pick the pea

A suite of new and superior pea varieties has opened the door for southern growers to choose a pulse rotation that suits their region and growing conditions.

Field pea breeder Tony Leonforte, of the Victorian Institute for Dryland Agriculture at Horsham, told farmers at a GRDC Research Update at Hamilton that the new choices came thanks to the national field pea improvement program.

"The new varieties are all different and some are more suited to specific regions and management systems than others," Mr Leonforte said. "However, the choice between varieties should not be based solely on yield, but also on the opportunities that flow from improved marketability, superior agronomic features or disease resistance.

"Harvestability of pea varieties may be an issue for farmers who do not have specialised equipment for trailing pea types such as Dundale or Parafield. The new peas Excell and Snowpeak show exceptional lodging resistance at harvest.

"Resistance to downy mildew should be considered a necessity for Wimmera farmers and a positive trait for Mallee farmers in controlling the disease long term. Powdery mildew resistance is a definite advantage in south-west and north-east Victoria and may be an advantage in the Wimmera and Mallee in some years. The level of early vigour is important for farmers concerned with weed competition."

White peas

Three new white-seeded field pea varieties will be available in 2001. All produce high-quality seed that is smooth, round, white, of medium size and suitable for splitting.

Snowpeak, from Victoria — highest yielding pea tested in Victoria over the last eight years, medium height, semi-leafless, excellent lodging resistance at harvest, flowers 4-5 days earlier than Dundale, matures early, has good early vigour, resists downy mildew, considered tolerant to Ascochyta blight.

Mukta and Santi, from South Australia — semi-leafless, slightly shorter than Snowpeak, yield higher than Dundale, fair lodging resistance at harvest but poor to fair early vigour compared to Snowpeak. Mukta is late flowering, late maturing, resistant to downy mildew and powdery mildew, and moderately resistant to Ascochyta blight. Santi flowers about a week earlier than Mukta, resistant to downy mildew.

Blue peas

Two new blue varieties will be available in 2001. Both produce smooth, round blue seed, suitable for splitting.

Excell, from Victoria — significant yield advantage over all other blue peas in eight years of tests, medium height, semi-leafless, excellent lodging resistance at harvest, early flowering, mid-season maturing, good early vigour, moderately resistant to Ascochyta blight, resistant to downy mildew.

Soupa, from South Australia — short, tare-leafed, late flowering, late maturing, moderately resistant to downy mildew, compares poorly to Excell in early vigour and harvestability, reputed to have good resistance to bleaching of the seed.

Dun peas

New varieties Paravic and Parafield have been the highest-yielding dun-type seeded varieties tested in Victoria. Parafield — trailing-type pea, mid- to late flowering, susceptible to downy mildew. Paravic — shorter, early flowering, early maturing, stands semi-erect at maturity, good resistance to downy mildew.

Morgan, released for NSW—specialty grain and forage/hay/green manure type, tall, late, semi-leafless, yields similar to Dundale in Victoria, very competitive with weeds, good resistance to downy mildew.

Where to get them

Snowpeak and Excell — from Harvest Grain Australia

Mukta and Santi — from the Australian Barley Board and the Australia Field Crops Association

Soupa — from The Lentil Company

Paravic and Parafield — from Elders/Paramount Seeds

Morgan — from Hart Brothers in NSW

Program 2.2.4 Contact: Mr Tony Leonforte 03 5362 2111

Region North, South, West