Grain growers are being supported to diversify into pulse crops in non-traditional production areas of Victoria and South Australia through a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) initiative.
The Southern Pulse Extension project is a GRDC investment that aims to provide growers and their advisers with the information and resources needed to make informed decisions and maximise possible production and income potential from pulses.
At the core of the project is the establishment of southern “Pulse Check” discussion groups across Victoria and South Australia.
The Pulse Check groups have been meeting four times a year since the project was established to discuss issues relating to pulse crop production, management and marketing. The groups are focused on a “back to basics” approach to pulse production through practical in-field learning and group discussion.
Each group consists of growers and advisers with varying experience in production of lentils or chickpeas. Those with no or limited experience are encouraged to take advantage of a unique opportunity to learn from more experienced growers in their region and experts in the industry.
The Riverine Plains Inc southern Pulse Check group was established in the Dookie region in time for the 2017 harvest. With canola the predominant break crop for the area, the Pulse Check group meetings have been a valuable source of information for growers interested in alternative break crops. Since its establishment, the group has met for pre-seeding, establishment, canopy closure and pre-harvest meetings, covering a range of topics from paddock selection and successful pulse crop establishment, through to pest and weed management, the effect of acid soils on pulse potential and harvest, storage and marketing options.
Much of the information delivered to growers and advisers through the Pulse Check initiative has been generated from the GRDC’s Southern Pulse Agronomy program. Southern Pulse Agronomy, led by Agriculture Victoria pulse agronomist Dr Jason Brand, has made a significant contribution to the rise in pulse production across the southern region. Southern Pulse Agronomy has trial sites spread throughout SA and Victoria, including a site near Dookie during 2019.
Other GRDC Southern Pulse Check groups are facilitated by representatives from farming systems organisations; Mallee Sustainable Farming, MacKillop Farm Management Group, Birchip Cropping Group, Lower Eyre Agricultural Development Association, Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation and Upper North Farming Systems, as well as Rural Directions and Ag Excellence Alliance.
For further information about Pulse Check discussion groups for the Riverine Plains region, please contact Riverine Plains Inc Pulse Check facilitator Kate Coffey on 03 5744 1713 or email firstname.lastname@example.org