20/20 rule for pulses — latest primer by John Sykes, Col Mullen and Di Carpenter, NSW Agriculture
GroundCover™ Issue: 39
Currently the area grown to pulses in central NSW is 38,000 ha. The area that should be grown to sustain rotations is 280,000 ha (including lucerne) or 20 per cent of the cropping area. We believe production can be increased reliably to this level if:
- pulses are selected to match soil types, and
- available technology is used in a more professional management approach.
Over the next decade there will remain an onus on agronomists and growers to assess individual risk. No more than 20 per cent of the annual cropping area should be allocated to pulses on an individual farm. This is the 20/20 rule for on-farm/total area.
Growers should progress towards this goal by increasing their experience every year. This will also ensure the rotational benefits — disease break, nitrogen build-up and use of alternative herbicides will be ongoing and annually contribute to overall profit. Such an approach should be maintained until improved disease resistance is available in new varieties.
Matching the pulse to soil type
All pulses are best sown following a cereal crop where soil nitrogen levels are low. Ideally they should be no-tilled into standing cereal stubble using wide rows. Paddocks should be at least 500 metres away from stubble of the same pulse crop.
- adapted to sandy soils, sandy clay loam and loam soils
- very tolerant of soil acidity and high levels of aluminium in the soil
- require reasonably well-drained soils
- susceptible to Phytophthora root rot (sudden death disease) which can be brought on by periods of waterlogging during winter.
- adapted to better soils with good drainage — sandy loam and loam soils
- very sensitive to poor drainage and waterlogging
- not adapted to sodic soils
- tolerant of only moderate acidity, 8-10 per cent exchangeable aluminium
- susceptible to Phytophthora root rot (sudden death disease) and Pleiochaeta root rot, especially after short periods of waterlogging.
- can tolerate most subsoil sodicity up to 6 ESP
- widely adapted to most soil types — acid sandy soils —> loam —> clay
- more tolerant of waterlogging than lupins.
- adapted to heavy self-mulching clay soils
- heavy friable clays are suitable, provided subsoil sodicity is less than 4 ESP
- most tolerant pulse crop to waterlogging
- unsuccessful on acid sandy loam soils or soils with acid subsoil.
- adapted to most soils with pH > 5.4 (CaCl₂) and good drainage — red loam, sandy clay loam and heavier self-mulching clay loam soils
- most reliable on the red sand loam and well-drained clay loam soils
- soils must have good drainage to counteract the potential of Phytophthora root rot. Do not sow on tight hard-setting soils.
|Crop||Soil type||Soil pH (CaCl₂)||Exch A1% range||Drainage tolerance (1-5)**||Sodicity (ESP)|
|lupin - narrow-leaf||sandy - loams||4.2 min||tolerant||tolerant (2)||nil|
|lupin - albus||sandy - loams - clay loams||4.6 min||up to 10%||sensitive (2)||nil|
|field pea||sandy - loams - clays||4.6 min||up to 5-10%||tolerant (3)||<6|
|chickpea||loams - self-mulching clay loams||5.4 min||nil||very sensitive (1)||nil|
|faba bean||loams - clay loams||5.4 min||nil||tolerant (4)||<4 (subsoil)|
|canola*||loams - clay loams||4.8 min||0-5%||tolerant (4)||<3 (subsoil)|
|lucerne*||loams - clay loams||5.0 min||nil||sensitive - tolerant (1-3)dependenton variety||<3 (subsoil)|
* Non-pulse comparison
** No hard pans and good drainage (no puddles after 24 hrs from a 50 mm rain event)
See Pulse Point 15: Pulse Varieties Southern & Central NSW 2001-2002.
See Pulse Point 1: Quality of Sowing Seed and Pulse Point 2: Germination Testing.
See Pulse Point 3: Calculating Your Seeding Rate and Winter Crop Variety Sowing Guide.
See Weed Control in Winter Crops and chemical labels.
See Pulse Point 7: Reducing Disease Risk, Pulse Point 14: Powdery Mildew in Field Peas and Winter Crop Variety Sowing Guide.
Program 2 Contact: Mr John Sykes 02 6881 1282 email email@example.com
Region North, South, West