August 31, 2011
After six years of rigorous field testing, two new chickpea varieties will be released this month (September), including desi chickpea PBA Pistol , bred specifically for central Queensland.
PBA Pistol is ideally suited to the Central Highlands and Callide-Dawson grain-growing districts of central Queensland where the risk of the foliar disease Ascochyta blight remains low.
Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA) and Seednet will launch PBA Pistol at three National Variety Trials (NVT) sites across CQ including “Elcostalot”, Biloela on 5 September, “Springton”, Springsure on 6 September and “Canns Corner”, Capella on 7 September.
James Clark, Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) northern panel chair says the new chickpea is creating a buzz in CQ and GRDC managing director John Harvey and the northern panel will be in the region for the launch.
“This is growers’ money being invested by GRDC and its research partners to directly support the development of PBA Pistol and other new chickpea varieties,” Mr Clark said.
“GRDC contributes to the development of new temperate pulse varieties through its investment in Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA), a joint venture established between state Departments of Agriculture, the University of Adelaide, Pulse Australia and the GRDC.”
Chickpea is a major rotation and income-producing crop for growers and has cemented its place in winter cropping programs.
Developed for hot, dry CQ winters PBA Pistol is the second variety released specifically for CQ and GRDC manager pulse/oilseed breeding Brondwen MacLean says it is a significant step forward from its predecessor, Moti.
Ms MacLean warns the variety is very susceptible to Ascochyta blight and is not suitable for production outside CQ.
“Strict adherence to current industry guidelines for use of clean, CQ-origin planting seed and management of Ascochyta blight remains critical,” she said.
Ms MacLean says six years of field testing in the Callide-Dawson Valley system and Central Highlands by PBA has proven PBA Pistol as a package of high yield, agronomy and grain quality.
“PBA Pistol has been field-tested by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation’s (DEEDI) CQ pulse team based at Biloela Research Station and with the participation of farmer co-operators at Gindie, Capella and Kilcummin. They have been instrumental in the development of PBA Pistol for CQ,” she said.
“PBA Pistol has very high yield potential in favourable years, and superior yield under water limiting conditions.
“It has out-yielded current commercial varieties in PBA and NVT trials since 2005 and under drought conditions in 2009, PBA Pistol out-yielded the nearest commercial variety by 19 per cent.”
Ms MacLean says PBA Pistol ’s early flowering ensures a longer grain fill period and improves reliability in dry years and in later planting scenarios.
“PBA Pistol shows excellent early vigour and is ideally suited to deep-sowing in zero-till farming systems,” she said.
“It is taller than all other commercial varieties, carries it pods higher in the canopy and has an erect plant habit with an open branch structure.
“Improved crop and podding height over current varieties means PBA Pistol is easier to harvest in cereal stubble, and in dry years when crops are shorter.”
PBA Pistol has superior standability and is less prone to lodging, even in high yield situations with a heavily laden canopy.
Yet-to-be named variety, CICA0511, is also set to attract industry interest after last season’s high disease pressure saw many chickpea crops abandoned across the northern region.
It will be launched at Tulloona, north of Moree, NSW on 14 September and Warra, Queensland on 15 September.
CICA0511 also originates from the PBA joint venture. NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) leads the PBA chickpea breeding program.
DEEDI plays a significant part in development and evaluation of new varieties and its role is strongly aligned to the Grains Industry National Research, Development and Extension Strategy.
GRDC has invested in a further five year PBA chickpea breeding program to 2016.
Mr Clark says PBA is an excellent example of growers’ money being invested in a nationally-coordinated program delivering better varieties for a specific region and that an additional strength of PBA is the strong collaboration it develops with its commercial partners. The PBA commercial partner for the chickpea program is Seednet.
Mr Clark says CICA0511 combines higher grain yields with significantly better resistance to Ascochyta blight than all other varieties, and will improve both the productivity and reliability of chickpea production in southern Queensland.
For more information, visit www.grdc.com.au/pba or www.pulseaus.com.au.