Improved Rhizobial Strains

Improved Rhizobial Strains

Funding: GRDC
Project Partners: NSW DPI, FarmLink, PulseAg Consulting, AgGrow Agronomy and Research
Project Code: DAN1901-002RTX
Project Duration: April 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020
Project Location: FarmLink Region

Background

The adaptation of high value pulse crops (chickpea, lentil and faba bean) is restricted by the suitability of current rhizobial strains to soil and climatic conditions. This project, in collaboration with similar projects in the GRDC Western and Southern regions, will evaluate a range of elite rhizobial strains for high value pulse crops with the objective of releasing elite commercial strains. Such strains will improve the adaptation range of high value pulse crops and their use in farming systems resulting in increased nitrogen fixation and a reduction in reliance on inorganic nitrogen fertilisers.
The project has three key components:
1) Laboratory screening (NSW DPI, Camden). This includes looking at manufacturability and stability of elite strains, plus assessing strain x pH x herbicide effects, to determine the impact on survival and growth
2) Glasshouse trials (NSW DPI Wagga Wagga, Orange and/or Cowra). Evaluating the capacity of strains to initiate nodulation under a range of soil moistures at and after sowing, evaluating moisture x temperature x soil type effects on germination, and evaluating strain survival and drift (of background strains identified in 3b)
3) Field studies (all participants)
a. Replicated field trials (Griffith, Condobolin, Cowra, Tamworth, 2x Qld) comparing elite and commercial strains, N fixation/yield/N carryover, effect of dry sowing, strain survival and effect of herbicide residues
b. Field survey to be undertaken in a minimum of 70 commercial paddocks where pulse crops are or have been grown, led by NSW DPI. The survey will consist of soil analysis at 0-5 cm, 5-10 cm, 10-20 cm, 20-30 cm depth and collection of a five year management history of crop, fertiliser and herbicide applications. FarmLink will coordinate activities for delivery of survey findings which may include pre-season workshops in southern and central NSW and dissemination via FarmLink networks. FarmLink will provide 15 days of labour per annum in support of these activities.
c. Mini-farm scale best bet management, based on results of the field survey. Three sites will be selected where alternative management tactics will be applied in a commercial setting to determine the impact on pulse crop production (NSW DPI to lead).


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