Needed: niche research Western growers target their markets

WA's move away from general-purpose wheats to producing varieties for quality and price-conscious markets means a greater need tor quality wheat across a range of grades. "About 60 per cent of wheat produced in WA is already being sold to discriminating markets, but more varieties suited to specific end-uses will be required to meet future market demands," said GRDC Western Region Panel Chairman Mick McGinniss.

Mr McGinniss spoke as sectors of the Western Region grains industry gave clear direction to wheat research over the next five years, following a future directions workshop held in Perth. The outcomes of the future directions workshop, coordinated by the Grains Research and Development Corporation, suggest market prospects for WA wheats are strong and further opportunities are available for expansion into Asia.

Leading the discussion along with researchers, millers, breeders and Australian Wheat Board representatives were growers from the South East Premium Wheat Association and the Noodle Wheat Growers Association. "Farmers are increasingly calling for high-value varieties suited to niche markets and greater research is needed for growers to take advantage of premiums on offer. An increased flow of information between customers, marketers and producers is also vital to enable growers to respond quickly to changing market demands, and help marketers understand the production constraints under which growers operate," said Mr McGinniss.

The GRDC is promoting early testing of new breeding lines arising from wheat breeding programs in South Australia in cooperation with WA plant breeding programs.

Subprogram 2.11.04 Contact: Mr Mick McGinniss 090 441 023