New varieties released today a boost for chickpea industry

Two new chickpea varieties bred at NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Tamworth Agricultural Institute officially released today at a conference in North Star will be a major boost for the industry.

NSW Department of Primary Industries Deputy Director-General, Science and Research, Dr Mike Curll, said the varieties boasted a number of improvements including better resistance to the fungal disease Ascochyta blight.

“Yorker and Flipper will enable growers to substantially reduce, or in some situations eliminate, the use of foliar fungicides to protect their crops from this lethal fungal disease,” Dr Curll said.

“Many crops were severely damaged or wiped out during the last serious outbreak of this disease, and it took a team of scientists from NSW and Queensland DPI to bring it under control with a carefully considered management package.

“This management package has been updated each year and has worked very well indeed, allowing time for the new varieties to be developed.”

Dr Curll said a great deal of effort had gone into the breeding of Yorker and Flipper.

“DPI Chickpea breeder Ted Knights has spent 10 years working to develop high quality breeding varieties which deliver what farmers need to grow this valuable rotational crop,” he said.

“Yorker is a medium to large seeded variety ideally suited to the whole seed export market.  It has useful resistance to Ascochyta, is superior to Howzat, and has greater resistance to Phytophthora root rot, the region’s other major disease.

“Flipper on the other hand is a tall, medium seeded variety suited to the higher rainfall areas of NSW. It has much improved resistance to Ascochyta and resistance to Phytophthora similar to Howzat.”

Dr Curll said the Ascochyta resistance of Flipper should be adequate to eliminate the need for foliar fungicides in most seasons, however, close monitoring for the disease would still be required.

He said a final seed increase will be completed in 2005, enabling a substantial replacement of the current Ascochyta-susceptible varieties in 2006.

Both varieties were formally launched today at the ‘Chickpeas in the Farming System’ conference, organised by Pulse Australia, NSW DPI and Queensland DPI&F.

Media contact: Trudy Glasgow 02 6391 3312 or Brett Fifield 6391 3311