Grains Research and Development

Date: 01.02.2004

An alliance formed on high ideals - HRZ Wheats Pty Ltd

By Eammon Conaghan

During Grains Week 2002, Export Grains Centre (EGC) chairman David Crawford and CSIRO’s Chief of Plant Industries, Jim Peacock, discussed the limited opportunities for wheat cropping available to farms in Australia’s high rainfall zones (HRZ).

Eight million hectares of HRZ farmland would suit cropping, but despite experiencing some of Australia’s most consistent rainfall – 600mm or more a year – disease constraints limited farmers to pastures or ‘safer’ crops, such as oats and feed wheats.

The EGC, which leverages private investment to speed up plant breeding and the delivery of new varieties, saw a commercial opportunity and struck an agreement with CSIRO and New Zealand Crop and Food Research (NZCFR) to form a company to target the HRZ wheat market.

“Disease has limited productivity and therefore adoption of wheat crops in high rainfall zones, while quality falls short of milling market specifications, leaving growers to resort largely to lower earning feed wheats,” Mr Crawford said.

“By joining with CSIRO and NZCFR, which had already linked to form AUSGRAINZ, EGC was able to help launch a company (HRZ Wheats) with access to new germplasm for developing HRZ wheats.”

HRZ Wheats Pty Ltd aims to deliver its first high-yielding milling quality wheat by 2008.

For more information:
David Crawford, HRZ Wheats, 08 9368 8750.

GRDC RESEARCH CODE ECG00002, program 1