THE RELEASE of a new field pea with an improved resistance to bacterial blight was one of the highlights at last month’s Southern Pulse Agronomy field day at Rupanyup in Victoria.
Bacterial blight has emerged in recent years as one of the key limiting factors in terms of field pea yields.
However, the Pulse Breeding Australia team, who bred the variety in conjunction with Agriculture Victoria, are confident the new variety, Butler, has an improved disease management suite in comparison to similar varieties such as the popular Kaspa line.
The Butler line will be commercialised by seed business Seednet, with supplies available for sowing next year.
Plant breeders expect the late developing variety will be suited to higher yielding environments.
Trial results have shown it has outyielded Kaspa in favourable seasons, although the breeders caution Butler may struggle to outyield the Kaspa cultivar in drier years.
Having seed quality similar to Kaspa helps the variety command a premium over other field peas as there are some human consumption uses for the product.
Field peas have been one of the forgotten crops in the recent pulse boom, overtaken first by lentils and then by chickpeas as both crops delivered significant premium over the once-popular legume crop.
However breeders have said the sturdy agronomic nature of field peas meant they would always have a place in grower rotations.
Field peas are generally less susceptible to disease, have better water use efficiency in dry years and handle frosts much better than both lentils and chickpeas.