LOST in among the hype surrounding other pulse crops field peas continue to be a quiet achiever in the southern production zone, especially in lower rainfall zones where crops such as lentils are less suited.
Pulse Breeding Australia has released two new varieties set to improve the product offering to field pea producers.
PBA Taylor is a Kaspa type field pea, slightly earlier maturing than the popular Kaspa variety.
The main advantage of the variety is in its strong disease resistance package, with good resistance to both pea seed borne mosaic virus and bean leaf roll virus.
These two viruses are common causes of yield loss in field peas and the resistance package is a key reason why Taylor has consistently been the highest yielding field pea in trials over a range of environments.
Agriculture Victoria pea breeder Babu Pandey said the variety was best suited to medium rainfall zones such as the Wimmera, SA's Mid North and Yorke and Eyre Peninsulas and the Riverina but could also be grown in low rainfall environments such as the Mallee and the northern EP.
While Taylor is another dun variety, with tan seed, the major type of field peas grown in Australia with traditional markets for growers to sell into, the other new variety PBA Noosa is more niche.
PBA Noosa is a blue pea (known as green pea in other parts of the world).
PBA breeders say the variety has been released to allow growers a chance to tap into potentially lucrative premiums for blue peas.
However, with limited markets they advise growers to shore up potential avenues of sale before planting otherwise they may end up selling at normal field pea values.
Dr Pardey said yields were excellent, up to 20-30 per cent higher than a comparable blue pea variety in Excell.
Importantly there is improved resistance to bleaching which allows the grain a better chance of making it through to higher value markets.
Harvestability is improved due to its semi-dwarf, semi-leafless profile and shatter resistant pods.
Again it is suited to medium rainfall zones with the possibility of production in true low rainfall zones.
Tolerance to salinity will make it suitable for parts of the WA grain belt where other pulses struggle.
PBA Noosa will be marketed by PB Seeds and PBA Taylor by Seednet.
Both varieties were bred via Agriculture Victoria research, with12 years of work going into bringing the cultivars to commercialisation.
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