WA is on the verge of a dramatic increase in the production of field peas, according to the Agriculture Department.
Department pulse extension officer Ian Pritchard said one variety - Kaspa had attracted the most attention from growers.
Mr Pritchard said Kaspa was a dun type, semi-leafless, upright field pea with improved standing ability for harvest compared to the trailing types such as Dundale.
He said Kaspa could be harvested above ground level even where it had lodged. This was because most pods were formed near the top of the plant.
³Current seed sales of Kaspa indicate it will account for 25pc of the state¹s field pea crop in 2005 and cover a production area of 25,000ha,² he said.
³In 2006, Kaspa could be growing on well over 200,000ha.
³Much of this increase is expected to occur in the central and southern regions of WA.²
Mr Pritchard said industry support was also starting to back the increase in field pea production.
This year saw the Grain Pool¹s first bulk shipment of field peas from the Albany port which led to the removal of the price differential between the Albany and Fremantle port zones.
The Cooperative Bulk Handling (CBH) board has approved a $100 million dollar proposal to upgrade the Albany port terminal.
This will include the construction of ten 6000 tonne storage cells to allow the accumulation of grain such as field peas by CBH receival services for shipping.
CBH receival services also increased their field pea receival points for the Albany Port zone with a limited service being made available at Katanning at the start of the season, and full services at Kuender (near Lake Grace) and Borden.
Mr Pritchard said with the potential domination of Kaspa in the WA field pea crop by 2006, Kaspa¹s quality and splitting results obtained by the department and Premium Grain Handlers would be used with micro-samples of the harvest by AgraCorp to gauge the market¹s response to Kaspa.
This information together with information from eastern states traders should be available to growers early next year.