New rye: 50% higher yield in Mallee

A new semi-dwarf cereal rye has given outstanding yields in South Australian trials.

The new rye averaged yields 47 per cent higher than SA Commercial Rye over 16 sites, and showed at least equal quality in commercial assessments. The rye was bred at the South Australian Research and Development Institute with grower support through the GRDC.

Breeders are also testing the early vigour of the rye in commercial crops on sandy soils in the southern and northern Mallee.

Jeff Henschke is one grower who grew the rye near Parana, SA.

"In tests we have done so far this new rye seems to double the yield," said Mr Henschke. "The weight and quality also came up better than SA Commercial Rye."

The Summerton family has had similar success with the new line on properties near Pinnaroo, SA.

"Not many crops can grow on sand and are resistant to disease," said Gary Summerton, whose brother Bruce first tried the seed three years ago. "The first year it went about 50 per cent better than SA Commercial Rye, and last year our 100 acres averaged about five bags. We have sown 100 acres again this year to see how it goes, and we are also sowing 160 acres on some rough country which is lighter and sandier."

"It just looks a better crop," Mr Summerton said. "The heads are longer and the grain looks better. Provided we can find a good market it certainly has potential."

Mr Summerton said the line had improved over the past four years. It was now consistently semi-dwarf, with only a few 'tails' left in it. Mr Jefferies, (formerly) Leader SA Field Crop Evaluation Program, said pure dwarf reselections would be grown this year and the timing of a variety release would depend on the success of this reselection process.

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