A number of new barley varieties from grower-supported breeding programs and from other sources are being road tested by the GRDC in northern NSW.
David Doyle, special research agronomist responsible for the barley evaluation program, said the work covered varieties bred in Australia and overseas. "A feature of the program is the close association between breeders all over Australia," Mr Doyle said.
Barley is growing in importance in northern NSW. It covers 20 per cent of the area of wheat. One reason is the increase in feedlots, said Mr Doyle.
Mike Donaldson of "Bendee", Warialda, is one of the growers who benefits from David Doyle's evaluation programs.
"Generally speaking the evaluations are a great help to us," he said. "You to keep in mind that we have great variations in seasons, and the evaluations can only relate to the season in which they take place. But growers are very happy with them."
"The whole industry profits from this work," says David Brummell, a grower from "Girrawheen", Tamworth. "You only have to look back to where we were a few years ago to see how far we have come."
"In the mid-70's we had all sorts of problems, especially with standability. Most of these have now been overcome. We producers are both enthusiastic and grateful."
Mr Brummell said he found the data held by the NSW Department of Agriculture (which undertakes the evaluation program) very accessible, and visits to plots on field days were particularly helpful, because Departmental officers were able to demonstrate what was good, what was bad, and what was planned."I'm very happy with their work, and just hope it can continue," Mr Brummell said.