Queensland: disease resistant wheats

Up to five varieties of wheat with approved resistance to all major diseases ire being considered for release by April by the Queensland Wheat Research Institute (QWRI). QWRI plant breeders and agronomists report the following regarding projects funded by growers through the GRDC:

A mid-season cultivar, Batavia, was released during 1991. Batavia yields better than the wheats it replaces, and has excellent processing quality. However, crown rot is a concern with this variety "Batavia should not be grown in paddocks that have a history of crown rot infestation," said QWRI agronomist John Sheppard.

Houtman was released in late 1992. This is a high yielding niche variety for people who can't produce Prime Hard quality.

Mostyn Fletcher, a grower in the Emerald Irrigation Area, rotates wheat with his primary cotton crop. He tried Houtman this past season and expressed himself very pleased. He realised about 1.2t/ha with a reasonable protein level of 10.8. "I'm usually flat out to get near that," he said.

Straight and strong

He said Houtman handles nitrogen very well. "It's beautiful to harvest. Stands up nice and straight and strong," he said.

Mr Fletcher was generally enthusiastic about the research growers fund through the GRDC. "I'm for all the research we can get. The farmer is generally pushing hard to stay ahead of the game. The yields we're getting with the new varieties are a big improvement over the earlier varieties. It's money well-spent." Another variety, Cunningham, which was released by QWRI in 1990, has been confirmed in its Prime Hard classification.

In response to grower requests, an awnless derivative of Hartog has been developed with a useful level of resistance to yellow spot. It and two related lines are yielding well in trials, and will be considered for release in 1993.

Nematode resistant

A number of nematode-resistant lines, showing good yield and quality, may also be released.

Also ready for release is a line with good prospects for the South-east Asian bread market which out-yielded Hartog by 10 per cent and performed well in yield trials in 1992.

QWRI also reports progress with breeding techniques. A laboratory method of producing true-breeding lines holds promise of accomplishing in a few short steps what normally takes some generations of breeding.

"QWRI has done extremely well. Their varieties are readily accepted in Queensland and NSW," said grower Bryan Cameron of Toowoomba.

Region North