Knowledge sharing drives pulse expansion

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Best management practice training for pulse crops will continue to be rolled out across Australia this year

Photo of four men sitting at a table at a mungbean management workshop

(From left) Craig Chapman, Greg Giblett, Gordon Cumming and Sam Simons at a mungbean best management practice workshop.

PHOTO: Courtesy of The Courier

The development of pulses as major crops in Australia hinges on comprehensive agronomy packages that can guide growers in all aspects of crop management.

Pulse Australia, in collaboration with pulse researchers and with GRDC funding, plays a pivotal role in providing information that supports this industry growth.

A major component of this collaboration has been the development and delivery of best management practice (BMP) training courses.

The courses, which commenced with mungbean and chickpea modules in the northern region 12 years ago, have been extended to the southern and western regions over the past five years.

Gordon Cumming, Pulse Australia national development manager, says the courses not only provide a platform for research extension, but also put new research into context with the entire crop production and marketing chain.

“Everything comes together at the BMP training courses,” Mr Cumming says. “Information is presented to growers and agronomists who are able to contribute their field experience and ask questions of the experts.

“Through the courses, participants, key industry contacts and researchers develop lasting network contacts that promote better communication between the field, laboratory and marketplace.”

At the most recent courses held for mungbean growers and agronomists, much of the discussion centred on new management strategies for the moth pest Etiella and bean pod borer.

Best management training in 2015 to feature lentil, faba bean and chickpea break crops

Until recent seasons these insect pests were only associated with damage at pod-filling in soybeans and mungbeans, but this has changed.

Hugh Brier, Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry senior entomologist (pulses), says the change in behaviour is causing yield-limiting damage to buds and flowers.

New developments such as this are always a feature of the pulse agronomy courses and give participants access to the most up-to-date advice, as well as the opportunity to help researchers gather information and focus their efforts on overcoming immediate problems in the field.

A comprehensive manual – available only to BMP workshop participants – provides support and information as the season progresses.

Lentils, faba beans and chickpeas are likely to feature in the 2015 Broadleaf Crop BMP training program, funded by the GRDC and starting in March.

To reserve a place at these workshops, contact your Pulse Australia industry development manager or email

Variety management packages

The new age of plant breeding is producing new varieties that have very specific traits, such as herbicide or disease resistance, and sometimes adaptation to specific climates or soil types.

To help make sense of the options available the pulse industry prepares a variety management package (VMP) for each new variety at the time of release. These packages outline the characteristics of the variety and highlight the suitable growing localities, conditions and target markets for the grain.

The VMPs for all current pulse varieties are available on the Pulse Australia website (

More information:

Gordon Cumming, Pulse Australia,


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GRDC Project Code PAL00019

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