Lupin essentials – growing a successful lupin crop

Page last updated: Tuesday, 15 May 2018 - 1:53pm

Insect control

Lupin crops are more prone to insect damage than cereal crops and need to be checked at critical periods for insects.

  • Emergence - three weeks post emergence: red legged earth mite, cutworm and lucerne flea
  • Flowering: aphids
  • Pod fill: native budworm

Disease control

Lupins are susceptible to a wide range of diseases. Roots, hypocotyls, stems, pods and seeds of lupin are all subject to infection by disease organisms. Several of these diseases have the capacity to cause catastrophic losses, but this is rare if management guidelines are followed.

Key steps in the integrated management of lupin diseases include crop rotation, stubble management, fungicide or pesticide application, variety selection and seed testing.

On old lupin country seed should be treated with either iprodione (for example, Rovral®) or procymidone (for example, Sumisclex®) to reduce the risk of pleiochaeta root rot.

To reduce the transmission of seed borne anthracnose seed should be treated with thiram seed dressing at the rate of 100g active ingredient per 100kg of seed. Thiram is not compatible with rhizobium inoculums.


Harvest lupin crops as soon as they are ripe. Delays can result in significant loss of yield due to lodging, pod shattering and pod drop. Start harvesting as soon as the moisture content reaches 14%. In some seasons this will occur when the stems are still pale green.

Harvest losses can be substantially reduced by harvesting when humidity is high. Lupin plants strip well during the night and early morning, if possible do not harvest in the middle of the day when it is very hot. In cooler southern environments, daytime temperatures often do not become warm enough to cause major problems for harvest.

In these areas it may be better to harvest the crop as quickly as possible rather than swapping between lupin and cereals. Take special care when harvesting seed for next year’s crop. Harvest it as soon as it is mature. Set the harvester drum or rotor speed to a minimum and the concave opened fairly wide.

This will reduce damage to the embryo and help to ensure a high germination percentage. The seed embryo is very sensitive to impact if it becomes dry and brittle. Even seed with no visible damage may have low percentage germination if it suffered a high impact when its moisture content was low.

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