Chebec sails from Algeria

Dr Sue Logue transfers a barley haploid, from another culture, to a root development medium. Improvements in culture techniques mean that doubled haploids are now a feasible 'fast track' method for the selection of new barley varieties.

An exciting newcomer in barley, a CCN-resistant malting variety suitable for winter rainfall areas has been in the seed build-up stage at the Waite Institute. About 120 tonnes were distributed to certified seed producers in 1992, for release this year.

Named, like all South Australian barleys, after a sailing craft, Chebec takes its name from an Algerian sailboat in honour of the Algerian origins of its nematode resistant strain.

There is a lot of interest in the new barley, which combines the potential to achieve malting grade with resistance to cereal cyst nematode (two of its parents were Clipper and Schooner). It has produced well under sandy conditions. In South Australian trials it has shown better head retention and marginally better yield than Schooner, the primary malting variety. It doesn't yield as well as Galleon as a feed-only variety but its potential as a double-header has growers interested. Breeder Reg Lance said farmers are not losing anything by adopting the variety and have a lot to gain if it is accepted as a malting variety. Chebec is still being evaluated by the malting industry. "We will know by August whether there will need to be an additional year of testing," said Dr Lance. He said if accepted as a malting variety it could have a major impact on barley growing in South Australia, the biggest producer of malting barley.