AUSTRALIAN BARLEY growers will soon have access for the first time to malting quality varieties with resistance to the major soil-borne pest, cereal cyst nematode (CCN).
Currently this resistance in barley is confinesi to feed grades but the release of the three new barleys, and subsequent uptake by growers, could increase production of malting barley in southern Australia by as much as 300,000 tonnes if farmers use these new varieties in rotations to control CCN.
The lines have been developed by the Malting Barley Quality Improvement Program, a consortium involving the University of Adelaide, the SA Research and Development Institute, the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment, maltsters, brewers, ABB Ltd and the GRDC.
Two of the lines have Sloop '" backgrounds. Industry representatives recently conlirmed that their quality was acceptable to the malting industry and they will he released this year as endorsed varieties.
The lines are VB9953 from the barley breeding program at the Victorian Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Horsham, and WI3167 from the University of Adelaide's barley breeding program, in conjunction with the SA Research and Development Institute. (Varietal names for both lines have been submitted to the PBR office for approval.)
VB9953 and WI3167 are seen as Sloop '" replacements and, as new releases, are set to complement each other, with WI3167 more suited to drier barley growing areas. VB9953 is s lightly later maturing and suited to areas with average annual rainfall of 340-400 mm. These areas include the northern Wimmera and southern and central Mallee districts of Victoria.
VB9953 also has much sought-after boron toxicity tolerance. At a boron-toxic site at Rainbow in Victoria last year, its yields were 9 per cent higher than Sloop .
"Extensive field evaluation for three years in Victoria indicated that VB9953 is equal to, or higher yielding than, Sloop ~' in all regions:' said DNRE barley breeder David Moody. However, "only a limited quantity of seed will be available to growers this year" , he said.
According to Adelaide University barley breeder Andrew Barr, extensive field evaluation in SA since 1998 has shown that the yield performance of WI3167 is at least equal to Sloop '" in all major barley-growing districts while showing its best performance in the mallee region and mid-north of SA. Professor Barr said that up to 200 tonnes of WI3167 seed is available for sale this year.
Skiff-type variety - have contract ready
A third line, WI3102, from the University of Adelaide/ SARDI program is a semi-dwarf Skiff-type with mid- to late-season maturity and grain with high malt extract levels suited to niche malting markets.
"Seed will be available to farmers for 2002 but, with WI3102 intended in the first instance for domestic consumption, farmers should ensure they have a production contract with a local maltster," Professor Barr said.
Program 1 Contact: Mr David Moody 03 5362 2111 Professor Andrew Barr 08 8303 6553