Agriculture Minister Kim Chance today launched a new variety of albus lupin which is hoped will give new life to a crop devastated by the fungal disease Anthracnose.
Mr Chance said research and development of the new Andromeda variety of lupin was of great importance to Western Australian agriculture.
“I believe the excellent work done by the lupin breeders in developing this variety will send a clear signal that new varieties, even in small industries, remain a key platform in maintaining the prosperity of WA farmers,” he said.
“In comparison to the narrow leaf lupin industry, the albus industry has historically been much smaller both in terms of export dollar value and production.
“However, for many grain growers who farm soils that are unsuitable for the narrow leaf varieties, the albus lupin is an important option in crop rotation.”
Albus cultivation started in WA in the early 1980s with the release of the Ukranian bred variety Kiev Mutant. This variety was grown on loam soils in the medium to high rainfall zones of the northern agricultural region, particularly in the Chapman Valley and Greenough shires, although it was also suited to the lower rainfall areas from Mullewa to Perenjori.
Kiev Mutant is extremely susceptible to anthracnose, a fungal disease of lupins, and as the only albus variety available to growers, the 1996 outbreak crippled albus lupin production.
With the support of Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), the Department of Agriculture screened available germplasm in New Zealand and identified several potential lines for WA conditions.
“Andromeda was identified in 2003 as a potential variety and its seed production and testing has been fast tracked since then,” Mr Chance said.
“I would like to acknowledge the excellent co-operation between the parties that led to the development of Andromeda, and in particular the Council of Grain Grower Organisations, the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Department of Agriculture.
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