Australias largest plant breeding company to take on lupins

Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 29 Feb 2016

Australia’s largest plant breeding company Australian Grain Technologies (AGT) is adding lupins to its grains breeding portfolio.

Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) today (29/2) announced AGT would take forward their successful lupin breeding program.

The move delivers considerable commercial and technical breeding capability to lupin breeding in Australia and provides a sustainable footing for the industry.

AGT Chief Executive Officer Steve Jefferies said the company was committed to developing varieties that delivered greater returns to growers.

“AGT has the scientific expertise and track record in the development of successful wheat varieties including Mace and more recently Scepter, to accelerate the rates of genetic gain in lupin breeding,” Dr Jefferies said.

“We want to make a real difference to the value of lupins in Australian cropping systems.

“I am also very pleased to announce the appointment of lupin breeder Dini Ganesalingam to our team.

“Dini is a young enthusiastic Western Australian with relevant training and expertise in plant breeding.

“Dini will work from our newly expanded Northam base and in close collaboration with DAFWA’s lupin breeding and genetics expert Jon Clements.”

Dr Jefferies said lupins complemented AGT’s existing cereal breeding work which included wheat, barley and durum.

“Lupins are the fifth largest winter grain crop in Australia and we will be examining how we can best increase the value of lupins in Australian farming systems through improved yield, disease resistance, broader adaptation, herbicide tolerance and seed quality,” he said.

DAFWA and GRDC have co-invested in the breeding and commercial release of lupin varieties for the past 20 years.

The licencing arrangement will allow AGT, as the licensee, to commercially develop the current germplasm developed through these combined breeding activities as well as invest directly in improved new varieties.

GRDC Western Regional Panel chairman Peter Roberts said AGT’s entry into lupin breeding was an exciting opportunity for the lupin industry.

“AGT has a strong track record in the development and commercialisation of crop varieties that address the needs of Western Australian and Australian growers,” Mr Roberts said.

“GRDC will continue to support lupin development through our pre-breeding and systems agronomy investments.”

DAFWA grains research and development executive director Mark Sweetingham said the injection of commercial breeding expertise would provide greater certainty for the future of lupin breeding for Western Australian growers.

“The move to a commercial partnership will maximise opportunities to provide new and improved traits, aimed at improving the profitability of growing lupins,” Dr Sweetingham said.

“DAFWA will continue to deliver applied lupin agronomy and crop protection research through its regional network and will provide expertise to existing pre-breeding genetic improvement projects.”

In brief:

  • Australia grows more than 85 per cent of the world’s lupin production
  • Over the past five years, national lupin production has averaged 750,000 tonnes per annum

Media Contacts

Steve Jefferies, AGT
08 8313 6862, 0407 189 493

Jodie Thomson, DAFWA media liaison
08 9368 3937, 0427 423 283

Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications (for GRDC)
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827

Region National