Pulses to fit in the Western District

Wayne Hawthorne, with Beaufort farmer Steve Toose.PULSE Australia’s Wayne Hawthorne said he was confident pulses could fit in with cropping rotations in south-west Victoria.

Currently, there are very few pulses grown in the region, due to a combination of high rainfall and acidic soils.

However, Mr Hawthorne, pictured with Beaufort farmer Steve Toose at last week’s SFS AgriFocus field day at Lake Bolac, said legumes could be grown successfully in the region.

“Obviously, you might be pushing it with lentils and chickpeas that really hate getting wet feet and struggle with acidic soils, but other pulses, such as faba beans, tolerate the wet quite well.”

He said field peas, such as the new variety he is pictured in, set for release soon, also had a good fit and could be grown successfully.

“Paddock selection is important, you don’t want to grow them anywhere that gets really wet, but if you choose carefully they can grow very well.”

Peas are more commonly used by local end-users than beans at this stage, a local farmer said, and would prove easier to market domestically.

However, Mr Hawthorne said beans also had the option of going into the human consumption market, especially into the Middle East, and also fix more nitrogen than peas.

Lupins are another possible option for the region, especially with strong stockfeed demand from the dairy industry nearby.

“We think there could be quite a strong pulse industry in the Western District in future,” Mr Hawthorne said.

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