WA: new field pea hope

AS RESCUING showers sprinkled WA, growers who attended the Dowerin Field Day, were also offered a new field pea variety able to handle the seasonal vagaries of the future.

The progeny of Early Dun and Solara, the new variety - Dunwa~) - is suitable to a range of sowing times, offering growers the flexibility to deal with challenging seasonal conditions like those experienced in 2001.

Hopes for Dunwa~) are high as it shows consistent seed quality, which should appeal to lucrative but di scerning Asian markets. "It has an attractive dun-coloured seed with weight and size indexes superior to Dundale and Parafieldm claimed Tanveer Khan, of the Department of Agriculture, who oversaw the exhaustive five- year, GRDC-backed project to develop Dunwa.

"This is an excellent example of how cooperative germplasm exchange between pea breeders in different states maximises the full potential of a cross to benefit growers."Dunwa is a sister line of Parafield which was exchanged in the routine transfer of breeding material from South Australia. However, WA is the only region where it has shown adaptation superior to Parafield Dr Khan said.

Outperforming on yield, returns on nitrogen too Dunwam also outperformed the incumbent varieties when it came to yield. It produced up to 17 per cent higher yields than Dundale and was particularly strong against Parafieldm in late planting trials, where it produced 12 per cent more grain.

On current prices, the dependable 10 per cent yield edge over Dundale would be wortb an extra $19 per ha for growers. The financial rewards don't stop there, with Dunwam also promising to deliver up to 40 kglha of nitrogen to subsequent cereal crops, potentially lifting their yield by 20 per cent and bolstering grain protein.

Also, the new variety's height and plant bulk may make it easier to harvest than its relatives. Dunwa could help to contain black spot disease too, due to its late flowering. It flowers about eight days later than Dundale and two days later than Parafield~'. The late flowering means that Dunwa is suited to medium- to high-rainfall zones, rather than dry areas.

"Nonetheless, in WA, it will still give high performance in ag zones two, three, four and five," said Dr Khan.

Program 2 Contact: Dr Tanveer Khan 08 9368 3602 email tkhan@agric.wa.gov.au