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What variety of lentils to grow?

This season’s long, wet and cool spring has provided ideal growing conditions in the low-mid rainfall zones to produce exceptional lentil crops, while the higher rainfall zones have just been too wet for lentils which don’t tolerate water logging.  The gross margin on these high yielding lentils is quite amazing and will get many non-lentil growers thinking about trying the pulse crop.  Although future seasons are not likely to repeat the success of this season, and with prices sliding from the pressure of a large crop, the interest will still remain high.

There are many lentil varieties, both green and red with small, medium and large seed. Below I have outlined the main four varieties and their advantages.

PBA Bolt (medium red lentil) – Have a great fit if salt and boron are an issue in your soil.  They are a high yielding variety although are susceptible to Botrytis Grey Mould and consequently require a vigilant fungicide program. Keep a look out for their replacement in 2018 (CIPAL 1301) which has improved BGM resistance and higher yield.

PBA Hurricane XT (small red lentil) – These are one of the most popular varieties due to their tolerance of Group B herbicide residues.  They also provide safer application of Group B herbicides in-crop.  Hurricanes are the highest yielding small red lentil variety available. They have a replacement due in 2018 (CIPAL 1422) with a medium seed size. If vetch or medic is expected to be an issue Hurricane will be the best variety to grow.

PBA Jumbo2 (large red) – These lentils are the highest yielding red lentils available and also provide great resistance to Botrytis Grey Mould and Ascochyta.  These will be the easiest to manage in regards to disease and they really handled the disease pressure of this season well.

PBA Blitz (medium red) – These are the earliest maturing lentil variety available and provide the best option for spray topping and for areas with an early finish to the season.  Blitz lentils have been a solid yielding variety in a range of seasons in South Australia for years.

For a full run down on available lentil varieties from an independent source search for “SARDI Sowing Guide” or get hold of one of the hard copies they produce annually.

If you need any certified seed give your local Crop Smart rep a call.

The Smart Agro

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