Australian scientists create new variety of superior faba bean

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Scientists at the University of Sydney have released a new variety of field bean called FBA Ayla, providing improved field bean to growers in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland.

Field beans are the second most important grain legume after chickpeas in the subtropical cereal region of Australia. The University of Sydney has been breeding bean varieties for this region from its Narrabri Plant Breeding Institute since 2010.

The development of high yielding and disease resistant varieties with top quality seeds is at the heart of the Institute’s breeding program.

faba bean
Dr Kedar Adhikari. Image credit: University of Sydney.

The new variety was developed by Dr Kedar Adhikari of the Faculty of Science, program manager and senior breeder at the Narrabri Plant Breeding Institute; part of the Sydney Agricultural Institute.

“Farmers will benefit from growing FBA Ayla without any compromise on disease resistance and seed quality,” Adhikari said.

The highlights of using Ayla FBA include:

  • High yield in all bean growing areas of northern NSW and southern Queensland
  • It exceeded all current field bean varieties by at least 4-5% in low- and high-yielding test sites.
  • Rust resistance is similar to that of PBA Nanu, which has slightly better rust resistance than previously released varieties.
  • Similar tolerance level to bean leaf roll virus, a major disease in the northern region
  • Its uniform seed size and larger than PBA Warda will make it easily acceptable for marketing, while being a smaller seed than PBA Nasma will improve handling at sowing.
  • Its agronomic packaging is similar to growing other varieties of faba beans and no extra care is needed for its cultivation.

FBA Ayla is suggested as a replacement for PBA Warda and PBA Nasma.

A limited amount of seed will be available for commercial production during the 2022 season from the seed business partner, Seednet.

Field bean breeding is a collaborative project with the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the University of Adelaide and supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation.


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