SAGIT Profitable Pulses Trial

Year 3 trial plan and results – 2020-21

Trial plan

The SAGIT Profitable Pulses Trial replicated the third year of the pulse variety trial, this time on a trial site south-east of Palmer. Four replicated trials evaluating the leading commercial varieties of canola, chickpea, field pea, lentils and lupin were sown including two sowing times – May 7 and May 26. 

In addition, the focus of the management trials in 2020 is to demonstrate the productivity of alternative broadleaved pastures and forage crops. Biomass cuts were taken throughout the growing season to create growth curves for each species.  


Analysis through this SAGIT-funded trial assessing the productivity, sustainability and profitability of break crop options for the Murray Plains, along with associated agronomic requirements, demonstrated the following:

  • Lentils are likely to be both the most profitable and least risky pulse crop grown in the long term. Analysis showed the average long term gross margin for lentils is predicted to be $365/ha and, importantly, a negative gross margin is expected only 15% of the time. Lentils have the strong possibility of achieving a high gross margin with a gross margin of more than $500/ha probable 28% of the time. 
  • Vetch was the next most profitable break crop in the trial with an average gross margin of $255/ha, however as grain it is predominantly sold for seed to plant fodder and hay crops and so the market is limited and becomes easily flooded.
  • Chickpea and field pea had similar profitability and risk outcomes with both having a mean long-term gross margin of about $200/ha. Both crops had similar risk of not achieving a break-even gross margin (25%) while both crops had an 15% probability of the gross margin exceeding $500/ha.
  • Lupin and faba bean had lowest simulated long-term gross margins of $65/ha. Faba bean were also the riskiest crop and expected to not break even in 49% of seasons. Lupin has the lowest probability of achieving a high gross margin of more than $500/ha. This is due to low long term price outcomes for lupins relative to other pulse crops. 

To view the full pulse trial results, and the long-term gross margins and risk, download the trial results.

The original trial plan is also available.


Contact Information

Adrian Bormann


0428 285 102

Our Newsletter