New pulse breeder targets high yields and market suitability

Targeting stable high yields and breeding characteristics that suit a range of markets is the focus taken by Limagrain’s new senior pulse breeder, Will Pillinger.

The success of this approach is reflected in the new recommendations to the PGRO 2019 Recommended List; large blue pea LG Stallion gains full recommendation, along with spring bean LG Cartouche.

Breeding varieties with a range of ‘common’ traits such as stable higher yields, robust disease resistance, as well as sector ‘specific’ traits like colour in marrowfats or protein content in white peas, offers UK growers the best opportunity to realise the full potential of pulses, says Will Pillinger.

“It’s about making sure that we produce varieties suitable for UK growers by offering the highest yielding varieties with agronomic characteristics that help to mitigate many of the challenges of the growing season,” he says.

Under Mr Pillinger’s lead, Limagrain’s combinable pea breeding programme focusses on producing pea varieties with the best possible resistance to lodging, a range of maturities to suit different environments and robust disease resistance to downy and powdery mildew, Asochyta, root rot (Aphanomyces) and Fusarium.

“Depending on what markets the peas are being grown for there is a requirement for specific traits, for example colour retention in large blues and marrowfats, to protein levels in white peas,” he adds.

Will quotes the example of newly recommended large blue pea LG Stallion, which based on its high yields and excellent colour retention already holds 7% of the market.

“LG Stallion is listed at yielding 100% over control in official trials. This yield improves on farm as LG Stallion holds the world pea yield record from harvest 2017, where it yielded 6.47 t/ha in the Lincolnshire Wolds.”

“Significantly, over several seasons this yield has shown itself to be stable, and even in the difficult season of 2018, LG Stallion still managed to produce excellent yields – 5.6 t/ha at 14.76% moisture.”

“Marrowfats for human consumption or micronizing need to offer excellent colour retention, taste and shape. These factors, along with LG Stallion’s excellent standing power and good disease resistance, make for a really good package,” he points out.

Yield is the most important factor when breeding beans with standing ability following closely behind, points out Mr Pillinger.

“So, our breeding programme focusses on this, as well as building in more specific traits such as winter hardiness, maturity, plant tillering, water logging and drought tolerance.”

“We are always looking for ways to increase the protein content in beans within our programme and have had success with the spring bean LG Cartouche, which has the highest protein content of any bean on the RL of 29.1% –  1.6% higher than Fanfare.”

On farm, LG Cartouche will stand well for an early harvest as it offers the joint highest standing power on the list (8) and a 7 for earliness to harvest.

 

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.