Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Pulse breeding advances
3 Issue 125 | Nov -- Dec 2016 | PULSE BREEDING ADVANCES GROUNDCOVER NEW VARIETIES PHOTO: BRAD COLLIS BREEDING AND AGRONOMY AIMS TO 'BULLET PROOF' PULSE VARIETIES Researchers and breeders are working continually to deliver new varieties that meet growers' and markets' changing demands By Jason Brand, Matt Rodda, Garry Rosewarne, Audrey Delahunty (Agriculture Victoria, Horsham), Larn McMurray, Dili Mao, Christine Walela (SARDI, Clare) and Jeff Paull (University of Adelaide) n The role and value of pulses in Australian cropping are being built on the back of sustained research and advanced varieties. Improved traits in the research pipeline cover herbicide tolerance, disease resistance and abiotic stresses -- heat, drought, frost, boron and salt. It will be breakthrough developments in these areas, combined with best-practice on-farm, that have the potential to 'bullet-proof ' future crops. The long-term strategic research investment by the GRDC in the Southern Pulse Agronomy program has contributed to growers' confidence in growing pulses; including the expansion of faba beans in the high-rainfall zone and lentils in low- rainfall zones. Faba bean production in southern Australia has mostly been limited to medium and higher rainfall zones (>400mm), but improved genetics and modern management are changing this. Improved moisture conservation (retained stubble, early sowing and wider row spacing) means faba beans can now be considered a profitable option in low rainfall systems, particularly as they are one of the best nitrogen-fixing pulses. Several new breeding lines are showing significant improvements in grain yield in dry areas, plus improved disease resistance, smaller seed size (which will reduce seeding costs), and novel herbicide tolerance to improve weed management options. Research outcomes shaping the future of pulses in Australia include the following. EARLY SOWING Earlier sowing has proven beneficial for maximising yield potential in all pulse crops, provided new varieties are combined with correct agronomy. Recent varietal releases (such as PBA SamiraA beans, and PBA Jumbo2A, PBA AceA and PBA GreenfieldA lentils) have proved suitable for earlier sowing due to improved plant type, flowering and maturity patterns, enhanced weed competition, and disease resistance. STUBBLE RETENTION Previous research through the GRDC- supported Southern Pulse Agronomy program demonstrated yield benefits of up to 60 per cent (depending on sowing date, variety and seasonal conditions) can be achieved through sowing inter-row in slashed or standing stubble compared with burnt or removed stubble. Improvements in harvestability and increased pod height have also been associated with sowing inter- row in stubble. HERBICIDE TOLERANCE Research (in conjunction with Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA) and the GRDC- funded, SARDI-led pulse herbicide- tolerance project, DAS00131) has focused on improving Group B herbicide tolerance in lentils and, more recently, in faba beans. Two varieties of lentil with improved tolerance to a range of Group B herbicides, PBA HeraldXTA and PBA HurricaneXTA, are now available. Imidazolinone tolerance (Imi-T) is now a standard breeding trait in lentils and beans. The next XT lentil that will be available is CIPAL1422, a medium-sized red lentil with a five per cent yield advantage over PBA HurricaneXTA. A Group-B-tolerant faba bean breeding line (AF15369) could be released in the next two to three years. A new metribuzin Group C tolerance trait, which would be valuable to lentil growers, has been developed through both the DAS00131 project and an associated GRDC-funded PhD study by Larn McMurray at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). Research is continuing on implications for weed management across the farming system and includes the development of dual herbicide-tolerant (Group B+C) varieties. DISEASE RESISTANCE Dual resistance to ascochyta blight and botrytis grey mould is an important development, with the first lentil release, Nipper in 2007, delivering much improved returns compared with older varieties. Disease resistance remains a high-priority breeding goal. The highest yielding, broadly adapted, dual resistant PBA Jumbo2A was released in 2014. Lentil growers also have access to varieties with a high level of resistance to ascochyta blight. These include PBA Jumbo2A, PBA AceA, PBA BoltA and PBA Hurricane XTA. ABIOTIC STRESS TOLERANCE A high-yielding red lentil with improved tolerance to high soil boron levels and salt is expected to be released in the next few years. Several genotypes with improved high- temperature tolerance have compared favourably with the most consistent- performing commercial cultivar, PBA BoltA. This indicates potential to improve this crop's high-temperature tolerance. Field pea research has also identified material that is tolerant to high soil boron and salinity and resistant to diseases including bacterial blight, viruses and downy mildew, along with moderate improvements in ascochyta blight resistance. o GRDC Research Codes DAV00113, DAV00142, DAV00119, DAS00131 More information: Jason Brand, email@example.com; www.grdc.com.au/PBA Pulse agronomist Dr Jason Brand.
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