Words by Alan Meldrum, Regional Coordinator for WA

The Liebe Group’s AgChat series is kicking off with the first topic, ‘Combating No-show lupins’. I will join Dr Bob French from DPIRD to discuss the Liebe Group project on lupin establishment with their R and D Coordinator Judy Storer.

Many growers have had issues with poor lupin establishment and the main reason is low seed viability.

There are a few causes that can lead to this including: the seed has gone through a wet-dry period, poor manganese accumulation in the seed during spring, poor storage conditions and rough harvesting conditions.

The most important thing you can do right now to encourage the best possible establishment is to rigorously test your lupin seed for germination. Ensure a long duration (10 to 14 days) to check for seed abnormalities. If you see abnormalities, get a manganese content test done as well.

Manganese (Mn) is critical in lupin seed establishment. Testing for Mn is a dry grain test which CSBP or Summit can complete for a grower or consult your advisors about testing.  A result of 20 parts per million (ppm) or higher is excellent. Between 13 and 20 ppm indicates a deficiency and a higher seed rate is advised. Lower than 13 ppm and you should replace the seed. Remember, you cannot fix a Mn deficient seed with more Mn.

Both soil-applied fertiliser and foliar sprays of Mn can manage soil and seasonal deficiencies. Soil fertilisers have good residual value and can last for years while a foliage application only supplies Mn to the crop in season.

Seeding depth is also important, with the optimum depth between 30mm and 40mm and dry seeding is perfectly fine for lupins. Best of luck for the season ahead.