A new pasta wheat is already popular with millers and manufacturers because of its 'eye appeal'.
The new durum wheat, named Wollaroi, produces a very strong clear yellow pasta, brighter than current varieties. Wollarol also has a superior 'al dente texture.
The National Durum Wheat Improvement Program released the new cultivar in Tamworth on 20 October after development jointly funded by NSW Agriculture and the GRDC.
"We are encouraging our growers to sow Wollaroi — at least 50 acres — to give it a try," said Dennis Hawke of Western Milling in Brisbane. "The growers who have had it for seed increase are happy with it, and so are the pasta manufacturers.
"The key to its success is the strong yellow colour of the semolina — manufacturers are looking for the higher level of 'eye appeal'. We find it excellent and are actively pursuing it." said Mr Hawke.
Wollaroi is very similar to its predecessors Kamilaroi and Yallaroi. and retains the best features of both, including agronomic and disease resistance characteristics.
Potential for expansion in the south and west
The Australian pasta industry is almost exclusively durum-based and is growing by 4-5 per cent a year. Both the domestic and Asian markets have great potential for expansion.
South Australia is one of the main players in pasta wheat production. The durum wheat breeding program based at Tamworth includes evaluation of varieties in South Australia by a researcher from the University of Adelaide.
Much of Australia's durum wheat is grown in northern NSW, Queensland and south-eastern South Australia. But all other major wheat-growing states — Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia — are putting in trials of the latest durum wheats.
This year's harvest should yield 80-90.000 tonnes, which makes more than 50.000 tonnes of pasta.