Victorian-led research in the state’s north west is helping to boost the production of pulses by testing new varieties and harnessing cutting-edge technology, capitalising on a growing domestic and global market.
Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas commended researchers at Agriculture Victoria, in partnership with the Grains Research and Development Corporation who are supporting growers in the Mallee to expand their crop rotations to include fit-for-purpose pulse crops.
Field research sites have been set up in the Mallee, including one at Sea Lake, which enables researchers to test the performance of pulse types so that breeders can target traits to develop new plant varieties that will withstand dry conditions, thrive in local soil types and be more resistant to pests and disease.
These trials have already uncovered two pea varieties, PBA Noosa and PBA Taylor, which are adaptable to most pea growing regions in Australia and commercially suitable for both export and domestic markets.
Large-scale field trials in the northern Mallee have also been established, including a Southern Pulse Agronomy field site at Kooloonong. Scientists are investigating how pulses can be grown in marginal areas to increase farm profitability and export earnings for Victoria’s growers.
In Horsham, researchers at Agriculture Victoria’s Smartfarm are investigating how sensor technologies can be used to measure grain quality in lentils and faba beans – supporting growers to target premium markets.
In 2019-20, Victoria produced 550,000 tonnes of pulses, with exports valued at $370 million and representing 33 per cent of Victoria’s grain exports.
With worldwide population growth and increased demand for plant protein, global pulse production is projected to increase by 23 per cent by 2030. Health-conscious consumers have contributed significantly to the demand for pulses due to their high protein and nutritional content.
The Victorian Government is backing an even stronger agriculture sector through its 10-year Agriculture Strategy, ensuring the industry is well-placed to manage climate risk by increasing adoption of new, effective and fit-for-purpose technology. For more information visit agriculture.vic.gov.au.
Source: Vic Government