ABOUT 3,500 wheat lines have been screened for resistance to Septoria nodorum blotch. One-fifth of these were provided from germ plasm specially imported from other countries battling the disease. Sixty have survived a gruelling elimination process focused on the combination of disease resistance and agronomic qualities.
Septoria nodorum blotch can reduce yields by as much as 80 per cent and the 'elite' lines have shown up well in plot and field trials in a disease-induced environment. Under paddock conditions this year they performed less well but researchers have put this down to a dry season not conducive to the development of the disease. They remain sufficiently confident of the elite lines to continue testing them for properties such as 1000 grain weight, screenings and basic milling qualities.
Success will result in using the 'elite' lines in crossing programs with current partially resistant varieties.
Contact: Dr Robert Loughman 08 9368 3691