IDEA GROWS: Local chickpea growers inspecting the new variety, PBA Drummond near Springsure this week.
IDEA GROWS: Local chickpea growers inspecting the new variety, PBA Drummond near Springsure this week. Contributed

Chickpeas specific to Central Queensland

CENTRAL Highlands chickpea growers will soon have access to a new high-yielding variety with improved disease resistance, made specifically for Central Queensland.

Officially released this week, PBA Drummond is an improved desi chickpea developed from a cross between PBA Pistol and PBA HatTrick.

Named after a local mountain range, DAF senior plant breeder Dr Merrill Ryan said the new variety delivered higher yield stability.

"It's high yielding, it's got ascochyta resistance, it's tall and erect and doesn't lodge, and it's suited to the export market,” she said.

"Ninety per cent of the crop up here is sown to PBA Pistol and Kyabra, two proven high-yielding lines, but they are both very susceptible, they have no resistance to ascochyta blight, a fungal pathogen disease that hits in wet years.

"It's the first time a specific CQ-bred variety has had any level of ascochyta resistance. It's like an insurance policy - no matter whether you have a wet year or a dry year, you will have some level of coverage.”

This is the first time since 2011 a CQ-specific chickpea variety has been released and the crop has been tested across five seasons at 17 CQ sites.

Dr Ryan said they were confident with the results and that the variety would deliver to the export market.

"There's 200,000ha approximately grown in CQ (worth $240 million), which is 40 per cent of the state's crop,” she said.

"It has been extensively tested. We've had in-crop rainfall at those sites from 20mm right through to 400mm, different sowing depths, different times of sowing, so we feel in the 17 trial sites we've thrown everything at it and we're as confident as we can be that it will deliver.”

Seed will be available to purchase in 2019 through Seednet.

For more information and to view the individual site data from the trials, see the VMP brochure at grdc.com.au.


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