Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Pulse breeding
7 PULSE BREEDING GROUND COVER BREEDING Best of five In 2010 growers have the first opportunity to grow varieties released from three of the five PBA breeding programs By Fleur Winter THE FIVE NEW pulse varieties released by Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA) in spring 2009 are part of a stream of varieties to be released in the next five years. New varieties will offer improvements in yield, harvestability, resistance to diseases, tolerance to abiotic stresses, quality and/or weed management. In many situations varieties are being tailored for production in specific regions. For example, the latest release from the Faba Bean Breeding Program, PBA KareemaA, is a new broad bean variety to replace Aquadulce. It is specifically suited to the longer, milder growing season of the higher-rainfall districts of south- east South Australia and southern Victoria. "In many situations the disease spectrum differs between regions, for example in the northern regions we need to deliver faba beans with good resistance to rust, viruses and, to a lesser degree, chocolate spot; while for the south ascochyta blight, cercospora leaf spot and chocolate spot are the major disease threats," says Dr Jeff Paull, leader of the Faba Bean Breeding Program. The two latest releases from the Chickpea Breeding Program, led by Ted Knights, illustrate PBA's philosophy of tailoring varieties for regions. They also represent a big improvement in ascochyta resistance. PBA HatTrickA is a desi-type variety, well suited to all current chickpea-growing areas in northern NSW and southern Queensland. It is resistant to ascochyta blight, providing substantially better resistance than other varieties grown in these areas. It is moderately resistant to phytophthora root rot, slightly better than JimbourA. PBA HatTrickA is high yielding and its seed is similar to JimbourA, suitable for both splitting and direct consumption. PBA SlasherA is also a new desi-type variety but suited to chickpea-growing areas across southern and western Australia. PBA SlasherA is resistant to ascochyta blight and has excellent yield across a range of environments. It is a semi-spreading plant with mid flowering and mid maturity, similar to HowzatA. It does not have resistance to phytophthora root rot but the disease is uncommon in these regions. PBA SlasherA has improved seed quality compared to GenesisTM 509, with larger seed size and superior seed colour. It will suit chickpea growers who want an alternative to the small kabuli types grown in southern Australia. The two new lentil varieties, PBA FlashA and PBA BountyA, are more about improved agronomic and market traits. PBA FlashA is early maturing, making it particularly suited to shorter- season areas. This attribute also makes it most suited to timely crop-topping to control weeds. Variety brochures are available for each new PBA variety. The brochures outline each variety's advantages and areas of adaptation, along with agronomic and disease-management information and marketing arrangements. Information for the brochures has been sourced from PBA and the pulse agronomic and disease-management projects undertaken by the state departments in South Australia, Victoria and NSW in conjunction with the GRDC. In addition, the brochures contain yield data from variety trials conducted by PBA and the National Variety Trials (NVT). Variety brochures can be found on the PBA website (www.grdc.com.au/pba), as well as the websites of the commercialisation partners and Pulse Australia. All of the PBA varieties are subject to end point royalties (EPRs). All five of the new PBA varieties will be available for planting in 2010 and further information on seed availability can be obtained from the commercial seed partners. □ More information: the leaders of the five breeding programs are Lentils -- Dr Michael Materne, DPI Victoria, 03 5362 2312 (commercialisation partner PB Seeds); Faba beans -- Dr Jeff Paull, University of Adelaide, 08 8303 6564 (commercialisation partner for PBA KareemaA is Keith Seeds); Field peas -- Tony Leonforte, DPI Victoria, 03 5362 2155; Chickpeas -- Ted Knights, NSW DII, 02 6763 1179 (commercialisation partner AWB Seeds); Lupins -- Dr Bevan Buirchell, DAFWA, 08 9368 3653 NITROGEN FIXED Researchers involved with the National Rhizobium Program are working in collaboration with Pulse Breeding Australia to maximise nitrogen fixation by pulses. New inoculant strains, different types of inoculant carriers and the possibility of targeted plant breeding for better nodulation are all being explored as ways to improve the nitrogen fixation potential of pulse crops. In South Australia the focus is on field peas, faba beans and lentils. All three of these pulses are nodulated by the same species of rhizobia. In Queensland the focus is on chickpeas and mungbeans. Both groups are working closely with researchers in Victoria. The results from a recent large soil survey of the rhizobia that nodulate field peas in South Australia and Victoria will be used to provide growers with a better feel for where inoculation responses are likely, given their soil type and cropping history. The survey also highlighted that a number of soils, mainly in Victoria, have developed large but poorly effective populations of rhizobia, meaning that inoculation with effective strains is important. The Centre for Rhizobium Studies in Western Australia is trying to understand how the poorly effective rhizobia develop in soil so that they can be better managed. GRDC Research Code UMU00032 More information: Associate Professor Graham O'Hara, leader, National Rhizobium Program, Murdoch University, 08 9360 2551, email@example.com VARIETIES ARE BEING TAILORED FOR PRODUCTION IN SPECIFIC REGIONS. Chickpea breeder Ted Knights inspects potential sources of new breeding material being grown in the nursery at Tamworth.
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