LUPINS could be the next big pulse export for Australia with a consultant to the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) saying they have an ideal fit in Asian dairy markets.
Along with that Steve Little, speaking at the Australian Grains Industry Conference (AGIC) Asia event last week, said there would be good potential for the narrow leaf lupin types to be incorporated into pig feed rations as well.
"Lupins are safe and they are easy to use and they can play a great role in providing the nutritional balance needed to feed dairy animals.
The pulse was once Australia's major grain legume crop and is still the most widely adapted pulse in Western Australia, where the largely acidic soils do not suit other types of legume crops such as chickpeas or lentils.
Dr Little said the lupins could be used by feeders in a number of ways.
"They can be combined with low quality forage to give a big boost to their performance or they can be used as an alternative protein to replace other high protein grains such as soybeans," Dr Little said.
"Lupins are also low in starch so they are safe to use with starch dense products, you could easily go with a ration of two thirds corn, a third lupins, or a 70-30pc blend of barley and lupins."
"There is a good lift in energy when including lupins but an even bigger lift in protein."
Protein is important for dairy farmers looking to increase milk production.
The Asian dairy industry is proportionally smaller than in Australia, with the eastern Asian diet traditionally featuring far less dairy than in the west, but the large numbers of consumers, combined with added focus on the health benefits of dairy have seen consumption rising strongly in recent years.
Dr Little said lupins could also have a fit as a feed for pigs, but said end users would have to be careful with the albus varieties, with narrow leaf lupins a better fit.