Measuring the correct application of phosphorus in pulses is under research

With phosphorus being the main fertiliser input required to successfully grow pulse crops this research expects to get it just right

Along with field peas, faba beans shown here are being sown in WA field trials with the aim to improve the accuracy of fertiliser recommendations for pulse crops – photo Pulse Australia

With many local growers expressing an interest for improved information to achieve the most profitable results when applying this phosphorus as a nutrient in pulse crops the GRDC has sprung into action.

This knowledge gap will be filled with the results concluded from field trials in Western Australia’s Albany and Esperance port zones.

Conducted by service provider Kalyx, the two-year project will investigate the response of field pea, faba bean and lentil crops to different phosphorus (P) treatments.

GRDC grower relations manager – west, Jo Wheeler, says P application guidelines for pulse crops in WA’s southern cropping areas are currently based on cereal crop P ‘response curves’ (predicted yield responses to applied P).

“GRDC Grower Network meetings have highlighted that these P response curves for cereals are used for pulse crops as there is perceived to be a lack of local data about P requirements in pulses in WA’s southern regions,” Ms Wheeler said.

GRDC grower relations manager Jo Wheeler says P application guidelines for pulse crops in WA southern cropping areas are currently based on cereal crop P response curves – photo GRDC

“Previous research, nationally and internationally, has demonstrated a correlation between cereals and pulses and their P use efficiency (how much of the applied nutrient is used by the crop), but pulses appear to be less efficient in taking up P than cereals.

“The objective of the new investment is to validate – through field trials that include wheat as a control crop – the correlation of wheat P response curves with the P requirement of pulses.

“This is expected to lead to more accurate P fertiliser recommendations that will allow growers to grow pulses more profitably.

“This information is important as pulses are an important ‘break crop’ and can add diversity to crop rotations. Improving pulse agronomy knowledge may also increase grower confidence to grow more of these crops.”

Trial sites will be located at Kojonup in the Albany port zone and Grass Patch in the Esperance port zone – on soil types ‘responsive’ to the application of P.

Faba beans and field peas will be grown at the Kojonup site, and faba beans and lentils at the Grass Patch site.

To increase knowledge on current pulse nutrition practices and to help guide the research, Albany and Esperance port zone growers encouraged to complete a short survey being conducted by Kalyx.