Lupin on the move in southern WA

Posted in Agronomy alert on Sep 07, 2015

Lupins are once again a profitable option for southern region rotations to boost cereal yields and provide cost effective on-farm feed supplies for stock.

Lupin on the move in southern WA

by Alan Meldrum, Pulse Australia industry development manager

For the past three seasons, lupin pricing has hovered around and beyond $300/t, following very disappointing financial returns from lupins in 2011. At current prices lupin yields are profitable on the most suitable soil types (deep sand and loamy sands) in WA. For northern growers, gross returns from lupins have rivalled, if not exceeded, those of cereals and canola.

As a result, the lupin area in WA has risen 20 per cent in 2015, with increased area sown in both the northern and southern regions. In the southern region, with a much larger mixed farming sector, growing rather than buying lupins is now a more profitable exercise. From a biosecurity perspective, growing your own lupins also avoids the risk of importing herbicide resistant weeds in grain from the northern region. Additionally, tight rotations with canola come with disease risks and returning lupins to the paddock can provide a disease break.

Lupin yields across the southern region have been high in the last two seasons. The notable lack of frosts was a strong contributing factor to this outcome, along with varieties with improved adaptation and enhanced agronomy. Lupins in southern region rotations will boost yields of cereals and provide cost effective on-farm feed supplies for stock.

Recommended varieties for the Southern region, WA

There are three varieties with adaptation to the southern region, with further release expected in spring.

PBA Barlock was released in 2013 and targeted for the west coastal region. It is a high yielding variety in all southern medium rainfall regions and has the ability to increase yield when spring conditions allow longer flowering and podding time.

PBA Gunyidi is a shorter, quick maturing variety, suited to areas where rapid maturity is an advantage. Rapid maturity enhances yield potential in seasons with a dry finish and also provides an opportunity for end of season weed control (i.e. croptopping).

Jenabillup was released in 2008 and is tolerant of Bean Yellow Mosaic Virus (BYMV), the virus that causes black pod syndrome. In severe cases this virus can reduce yields by 30 to 40 per cent in susceptible varieties. Jenabillup is suited to high rainfall zones where a prolonged spring can lead to high aphid movement from clover pastures where the virus is endemic.

WALAN 2385 is a very high yielding variety, around 6% higher than Mandelup, with adaptation across much of WA that is due for release in spring 2015. It will be a viable alternative to PBA Barlock and PBA Gunyidi, but not for Jenabillup. Ample seed supplies will be available for sowing in 2016.

Weed control benefits of lupins

Importantly, lupins provide alternative weed control options to those used for cereals and canola. In-crop control using grass selective herbicides for susceptible grass weeds provides high levels of control. When combined with croptopping to control escape weeds at the end of the season, this strategy can result in almost 100 per cent control of grass weeds. Robust herbicide choices using diflufenican and metribuzin are reliable options for broadleaf weed control. Late radish control using Eclipse is a useful option but it does come with some yield penalty. Integrated weed management (IWM) strategies for controlling resistant weed populations can be very effective in lupins.

For more detailed information refer to the ‘Publications’ area on the Pulse Australia website or contact Alan Meldrum on 0427 384 760 or

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