New lentil hits the market

Janine Sounness and Peter Blair, PB Seeds, together with lentil breeder Michael Materne, DPI Victoria, at the launch of the new variety PBA Herald XT.AUSTRALIAN pulse producers have the option of a herbicide resistant lentil for the first time, with the release of PB Herald XT this week.

Launched at a field day at Rupanyup, in the heart of Victoria’s lentil producing region last week, PBA Herald XT will have resistance to sulfonylureas and imidazolinone (Clearfield) herbicide residues.

This will mean lentils can fit better in crop rotations featuring products such as Clearfields, while there will also be better in-crop control options available.

Breeder Michael Materne from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) said it was a major development for croppers who faced many challenges with in-crop weeds.

“Herbicide options in lentils are relatively limited and existing varieties tend to suffer to varying degrees when sprayed with herbicide during the growing season,” Dr Materne said.

“PBA herald XT will allow lentil growers to minimise damage from flumestsulam which can reduce yields by up to 20 per cent in current varieties.

Along with this, Dr Materne said he was happy with the crop’s agronomic performance.

“Herald XT has a good combination of ascochyta blight and botrytis grey mould resistance and is a direct replacement for Nipper in medium to higher rainfall areas and early sowing situations where improved herbicide tolerance is beneficial.

He said Herald XT was lower yielding than Flash, Blitz and Jumbo, particularly in drier shorter season areas, but may be preferred where disease and weed control are major issues.

The variety was bred by Pulse Breeding Australia, a joint venture between state government agriculture departments and the Grains Research and Development Corporation, while it will be commercialised by PB Seeds.

Dr Materne said PBA Herald XT was the fifth new lentil variety to be released by PBA since it was established five years ago.

“Horsham pulse breeders have also released a number of new pea and chickpea varieties and the herbicide tolerant barley variety scope in recent years,” Dr Materne said.

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