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Researching pulse performance in the province

How pulse genetics from around the world could help develop high performing varieties for Alberta producers.
 
Enhancing Field Pea, Faba Bean and Lentil Productivity and Resilience through Germplasm Screening is one of the pulse projects underway by the pulse research team at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF).
 
“This project screens germplasm from multiple breeding programs to determine the best adapted and high performing lines in different areas of the province,” explains Christy Hoy, pulse crops research agrologist with AF.
 
“Findings from the project are important as the data contribute to the development of new high performing varieties for producers in the province.”
 
This project on field pea, faba bean and lentil adaptation accesses pulse genetics from a large number of pulse breeding programs from Western Canada, France, United Kingdom, Germany and Netherlands. Their performance is evaluated in Alberta so that the genetic diversity of the crop kinds and agronomic characteristics can be easily observed in different agro-ecological areas in the province.
 
Now in the third year of the 5 year project, field trials are ongoing at 6 locations - Barrhead, Namao, Vegreville, Lacombe, Brooks and Lethbridge. Trials are grown to standard agronomic practices, and data collected include per cent stand, days to flower, plant height, lodging resistance, physiological maturity, seed quality, 1000 seed weight and grain yield.
 
“Genetic diversity between programs is important,” notes Hoy. “One program may have genotypic attributes that another does not, which reduces risk to the entire industry or having an ‘all your eggs in one basket’ situation.”
 
She adds that while this project is not a breeding program per se, with a breeder making a physical cross, Alberta and Western Canadian growers are reaping the benefits.
 
“Those field pea and faba bean varieties that are being selected over those diverse environments are more robust,” she explains. “Breeding programs are developing material with enhanced quality, new market traits, superior disease resistance and resilient agronomic performance. This project provides Alberta data there by ensuring new lines perform well under Alberta’s growing environments.”
Source : alberta.ca