The GRDC is investing almost half a million dollars over four years in a major industry-led research program to speed the development of new world class malting barley varieties.
The GRDC will facilitate grower involvement in the Malting Barley Quality Improvement Program which also involves the South Australian and Victorian governments, researchers and industry.
The program aims to improve Australia's presence in the high quality malting markets in countries such as Japan, Korea and China.
Three malting companies, Joe White Maltings, Barrett Burston International and Adelaide Maltings are supporting the project.
Meanwhile, the GRDC's national Agenda for Malting Barley is moving into gear, developing opportunities to promote integration of malting barley research during 1993.
Three convenors have been appointed: Dr Geoff Fincher, Waite Agricultural Institute, University of Adelaide for the South East Region; Dr Paul Johnston, Hermitage Research Station, Queensland Department of Primary Industries for the North East Region; Dr Ross Gilmour, Western Australia Department of Agriculture for the Western Region. In addition, Dr Robert Henry of the Queensland Agricultural Biotechnology Centre has been appointed as the National Biotechnology Coordinator.
Research areas considered promising for barley improvement are looking increasingly to biotechnology for solutions. They include molecular markers in plant breeding and transformation (see related article pII on engineering healthier wheat); more intensive application of biotechnology in diagnosis of barley diseases and in producing disease resistant varieties; antibody-based test kits; and introduction of new genes into barley.