Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4


R J. French


Pisum sativum, Cultivation, Production possibilities, Western Australia

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Plantings of lupins in the Western Australian wheatbelt increased rapidly in the late 1970s and early 980s as improved varieties became available and farmers realised the benefits to be gained from growing grain legumes. Grain legumes are useful not simply as alternative cash crops. They provide 'fixed' atmospheric nitrogewn to following cereal crops and act as a cleaning crop to break cereal disease cycles. They are also valuable sheep feed.

In 1975, throughout the wheatbelt, the Department of Agriculture began a comparison of several alternative legumes. The crops included field peas, faba beans, chickpeas, lentills and various vetches. Field peas proved the most consistant and highest yielding alternative legume crop tested.

A field pea agronomy project funded by the Wheat Industry Research Committee of Western Australis started in 1984 to assess the potential of this crop and to determine how it would fit into wheatbelt farming systems.