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Improving the physiological and agronomic basis of UK lupin production - AR0138

This project represents the next phase of R&D into white lupins. It builds upon the previous projects AR0118 and AR0132 in which autumn-sown determinate genotypes of white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) were shown to have potential as a break crop for arable farmers. In addition, as identified in the ENTEC report, they may represent a valuable home-produced source of protein, well suited to livestock feeding. In particular the project expands upon the work in ARO118 in which autumn-sown dwarf determinate genotypes were shown to be superior to the non-dwarf genotypes in over winter survival and resistance to lodging. The same research has, however, identified the need for further strategic R&D. The targets of the programme will be achieved through strategic underpinning R&D into the development of agronomic packages for lupins, including their physiological basis, which will feed through to more applied studies incorporating field trials over a more diverse range of contractors and sites, including research centres and industry. The white lupin is not well adapted to alkaline soils. Research building upon preliminary work on the mechanisms involved should enable a screening method for tolerance to be developed, and the identification of tolerant types with a broad geographical suitability. Genotypes showing some tolerance of alkaline soils have already been identified. Yield stability is an important criterion for any arable crop. Greater frost tolerance, earlier flowering and maturity, and a reduction in the thickness of pod walls are all traits that can be improved in the next generation of genotypes, and will improve the reliability of yield in a range of weather conditions. Evaluation of these traits and the work on tolerance of alkaline soils will be fed back into the breeding programme in France (INRA) to accelerate the production of new and improved cultivars. The project aims to identify new cultivars, through this feedback mechanism to the breeder, that will increase the area in the UK that is suitable for the cultivation of lupins and the attractiveness of the crop to UK farmers. The information on how to exploit these cultivars will be disseminated via the wider contractor base that is to be established.The disease anthracnose has caused serious crop losses in certain parts of the world where lupins are widely grown. To date there has been no recorded incidence in an agricultural lupin crop in the UK. However, the causal fungus (Colletotrichum spp.) is present in the UK, and is of concern in horticulture to lupin and strawberry growers. The main method of transmission in lupins is by seed infection. It is important to evaluate the risk to the agricultural crop in the UK. Bean yellow mosaic virus has been shown to cause severe yield loss in lupin crops in the UK. Genotypic variation in resistance to the virus has already been detected. To be acceptable, cultivars must show good resistance and be linked to virus free seed. Soil borne botrytis has infected plants over winter and resulted in either lodging (stem failure at the point of infection) or plant death. Chemical control is difficult, and protective fungicides are expensive, environmentally undesirable and not always warranted. A greater understanding of the disease is required on which to base decisions on whether or not to apply a protective fungicide. The bean seed fly (Delia platura) is the principal lupin pest. The larvae have been observed feeding inside newly emerged seedlings whenever autumn sown crops have been drilled. It is not possible to predict when the damage will be severe. It is proposed to expand upon the limited work on control done under the previous project AR0118. The white lupin is an ideal break crop in a cereal-based rotation. The plants’ nitrogen requirements are fixed from atmospheric sources. As part of this project it is proposed to quantify the nitrogen residues remaining after harvest to determine the potential risks to the environment and benefits to the following crop.The first cultivars of the autumn-sown dwarf determinate types will be available for commercial sowing within the next year or two. The UK agricultural industry needs to be supplied with clear information on how to grow and utilise what will be a totally new crop type. This will be achieved by broadening the contractor base from that of the previous project to include more farmer-orientated development and extension companies.
1) To refine the protocol for screening genotypes for tolerance to calcareous alkaline soils to include a greater understanding of soil conditions, thereby improving the resolution and repeatability of the screen.
2) To utilise a greater understanding of soil physical and chemical processses to define a protocol to quantify and predict the soil types that the best tolerant genotypes will grow on.
3) To increase our understanding of the underlying physiology, and test the theory that modifications to the pod wall structure may lessen the time taken for the lupin crop to mature.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Improving the physiological and agronomic basis of UK lupin production   (4976k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1999

To: 2003

Cost: £714,936
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Rothamsted Research (BBSRC)
Arable Farming              
Crop Improvement              
Fields of Study
Arable Crops