Triticale is an established small cereal crop which combines the productivity of wheat with the hardiness of rye. It makes good use of land that is marginal for other cereals. It can outyield wheat in several situations: on acid soils, in cool high-rainfall areas, and on low-nutrient soils such as those with two levels of manganese and copper.
Average yields are above those of wheat, even though the crop is often crown on poor soils with low inputs. The crop currently relies on one main variety (Tahara, bred in Victoria) and a number of dual purpose or grazing varieties (Empat and Madonna).
The current area of triticale is about 130,000 hectares, of which close to 100,000 hectares are used for grain. Most of this is in New South Wales, with small but increasing sowing in Victoria and South Australia.
All GRDC triticale research is now grouped in a single project coordinated at the University of New England. The Universities of Adelaide and Sydney are cooperating with the Armidale group. The program in New South Wales will concentrate on the dual-purpose and grazing lines (of both spring and longer season semi-winter types) which are in greatest demand by growers in southern and central regions.
Abacus now available
The new variety Abacus was trialed widely across Australia in 1992-93. Results confirmed its superior adaptation to early sowing, and long seasons with cool finishing conditions (see related story this page). Growers may contact their district agronomists in Vic, NSW, Qld, Tas and SA if they want to try growing the newer varieties.