New era for Central Queensland chickpea production

A new desi chickpea variety, specifically for Central Queensland, was released offering growers potentially high yields and improved agronomic and seed qualities, as well as disease resistance. Photo DAF.

Chickpea production in Central Queensland entered a new era with the release of a high yielding variety that promises to deliver improved disease resistance and superior agronomic and seed quality characteristics.

The new desi variety, PBA Drummond, is the result of a successful, long-term collaboration between the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF), the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and other Pulse Breeding Australia partners, along with commercial partners SeedNet.

Developed specifically for Central Queensland the new variety is named after a mountain range that runs through the region and was officially released by the QDAF General Manager for Crop and Food Science Garry Fullelove in Emerald today (September 11 2018).

Mr Fullelove said the variety paved the way for a new era of desi chickpea production in Central Queensland.

He said the research investment would grow markets and investment to support trade in Queensland with 99 per cent of desi chickpeas exported.

“Australia is the largest global chickpea exporting nation, with Queensland growers contributing to 55 per cent of the national crop value. In 2016 chickpeas were amongst the top four agricultural commodities contributing to the state’s income,” Mr Fullelove said.

GRDC Head of Business Development Ron Osmond said in trials PBA Drummond had demonstrated strong yield performance compared with existing varieties, and had improved Ascochyta blight disease resistance compared with varieties currently favoured by CQ growers.

“This is the first time since 2011 that a Central Queensland specific chickpea variety for the export market has been released,” Dr Osmond said.

“PBA Drummond has a number of agronomic benefits that should help to put dollars in growers’ pockets.”

The new variety has been developed by the DAF chickpea breeding team based at Emerald and Warwick, in partnership with the NSW DPI and other state and national agencies under the PBA umbrella.

Dr Osmond said other GRDC investment programs, such as the Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry (SAGI) and the National Variety Trials (NVT) also played key roles supporting the pulse breeding program and were instrumental in developing performance data for industry.

QDAF senior research scientist Merrill Ryan from the Pulse Breeding Team said the new variety offered Central Queensland growers a desi chickpea variety with significantly higher grain yield than all varieties currently grown in the region.

Dr Ryan said the new variety was a cross between two previously released PBA varieties, PBA HatTrick and PBA Pistol. The initial cross was made in 2006, which highlights the lengthy process from planting breeding to commercial release.

“This new variety has improved Ascochyta blight resistance over current high yielding, susceptible varieties, such as PBA Pistol , Kyabra and Moti,” Dr Ryan said.

“PBA Drummond is also potentially an excellent agronomic option with improved harvestability. It is a tall and erect and lodging resistant plant and has been in advanced yield evaluation since 2013 in a diverse range of seasonal conditions.

“PBA Drummond has similar seed quality to PBA HatTrick and equivalent dhal milling yield to current varieties.”

Dr Ryan said the new variety would be available to growers for the 2019 season through SeedNet with an End Point Royalty (EPR) applying to the variety, and growers should make enquiries to SeedNet for further information on variety performance and seed availability.

Source: GRDC

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