DEMONSTRATION OF LEGUMES FOR RELIABLE PROFITABILITY IN THE WESTERN REGION
The project aims to provide growers with access to agronomy packages for pulses/legumes and to whole farm modelling tools for their own farms to determine if particular legumes are profitable in their system.
Project lead organisation
West Midlands Group, Facey Group, Corrigin Farm Improvement Group, Mingenew Irwin Group, Farmanco, CSIRO and DPIRD
Loss (1996) noted that high value pulses are suitable for many fine-textured, neutral to alkaline soils where narrow leaf lupin is poorly adapted, however they may not be suited to all soil types and regions. The growth and seed yield of vetch, narbon bean, Lathyrus sativus, Lathyrus cicera and Lathyrus ochrus were compared to field pea and faba bean at 11 sites throughout the Western Australian wheatbelt in the dry 1994 season. These grain legumes showed considerable promise for farming systems. On average over all sites, field peas produced the greatest machine harvested seed yield (1.8 t/ha) followed by faba bean (1.4 t/ha), narbon bean (1.3 t/ha), vetch (1.2 t/ha) and the Lathyrus species (1.0 t/ha or less). The good biomass production of these species indicates their adaptation to fine-textured, neutral to alkaline soils, however, their late flowering time relative to faba bean and field pea is limiting their seed production. With further breeding and agronomic research, early flowering vetch, narbon bean, and Lathyrus spp. could find niches in farming systems, providing stockfeed, on and off-farm, and rotational benefits in situations where other grain legumes are not suitable. Pulse and legume work has since moved on considerably, however since inception of GRDCs Western Region Regional Cropping Solutions networks, growers have continually highlighted that there are no good or consistently profitable break crops/legume options for their farming systems.
In collaboration with grower groups in each port zone, the project developed nine legume (crop) demonstration sites on a range of soil types (and include shallow clay soils, heavy soils, and duplex soil types) in the Kwinana West, Kwinana East, and Geraldton Port Zones. These were sown to a combination of different legume break crops as well as a standard practice crop for comparison in 2018, and in 2019 were sown to a cereal rotation. All sites where monitored throughout both seasons and reported on at the conclusion of 2019.
In partnership with Farmanco Consultants the project delivered nine Crop Sequence workshops across the thee port zones on how to run simulations of different break crops, and what the impact on profits are from the different options. The aim of the workshops was to up-skill growers and advisors on the economics of different legume options for the port zone. These workshops included appropriate presenters and an analysis (financial and risk) of all rotations with information pertinent for the port zone.
The extension of agronomy packages for pulses/legumes that fit for growers in each port zone was developed throughout the project and provided by the participating groups.
The Liebe Group hosted four legume demonstration sites at Kalannie, Koorda, Dalwallinu, and East Maya through 2018-2019.
A variation to the project was made in 2019, to further investigate the agronomy of the more profitable legume options. Liebe Group established three demonstration sites in 2020, investigating herbicide options in chickpeas in Dalwallinu and Beacon and investigating fungicide options in field peas in Dalwallinu. Reports on these demonstrations will be published in 2021.
Results and Reports