Crop Report 2014: Legumes

Sally Howlett, Henry Creissen, Nick Fradgley, ORC, UK

WP1: Seed Health and Quality

Field trials in Lodi, Italy investigated the control of seed-borne diseases on peas using essential oils. Results have provided potential indications that artificial inoculation by anthracnose agents was very effective and the two pea varieties had contrasting response to the fungus, with one being moderately tolerant and the other being extremely susceptible. This variation in varietal response to the fungus had a bearing on the effect of oil treatments in controlling the disease; i) the oil treatment by seed soaking resulted in some negative effects on seed viability/germination, that had not been shown in preliminary and a posteriori laboratory assessments; ii) the oil spraying with film coating treatment showed some efficacy, especially in the less susceptible variety; iii) the thyme oil had a positive effect on plant emergence and final grain yield, while the clove oil appeared more effective on individual yield components (number of pods and number of seeds/pod) and plant height. The trials will be repeated this year and will focus on the film-coated oil treatment and introducing a third variety, of possibly intermediate susceptibility to the disease between the two already used.
Resistance of peas to seed-borne disease is also being looked at in a composite cross population grown at Nordic Seed by JKB with high infestation of A.pisi, M. pinodes and other pea anthracnose pathogens. Healthy plants were extracted from this CCP and tested as pure lines for resistance and other agronomic characters.

WP2: Breeding for Resilience

Spring and winter field trials conducted in Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Latvia, and Turkey continue to examine the performance ofbreeding lines and landraces of peas (including cowpeas), faba beans, lupins and/or soybeans under organic conditions. Potential for weed suppression as well as pre-crop value as pure-lines and cereal intercropping is being studied. Seed will be multiplied for further comparison trials in 2015.In 2014, the effect of each legume crop on the following winter wheat test crop was measured in Luxembourg and results were presented as a poster at the International Congress on Diversity strategies for organic and low-input agricultures and their food systems in Nantes (France).In Slovenia, landraces and accessions of pea and faba beanacquired from a Slovenian gene bank will be compared against commonly used local varieties in aMastersproject.  Initial results from the two trial years indicate some genotypic differences in resistance to aphids. Material from these trials has been used to examine the weed competitive ability of these legumes as pure stands and as intercropsin Belgium and Luxemburg.  Nutritive and anti-nutritive qualities will also be assessed crops grown in an on-farm trial in Luxemburg. 

WP3: Improving breeding efficiency

Participatory breeding trials have been carried out in Italy in which farmer’s bulk pea selections are compared against the conventional single seed descent method.  A farmer group has so far evaluated varieties in a plot trial to define and prioritise selection criteria.

WP4: Socio-economics and Legislation

Case studies outlining the resources and bottlenecks for organic soya bean production in Italy as well as on the associated problems with maintaining seed quality and quality traits in common beans are underway. 

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