Silver, gold and wheat seed: the new commercialisation

This seed crop of Goldmark has performed well in a tough year for Corowa district seed grower Donald Mills.

Is commercialisation the way to the future distribution of new crop varieties?

Many believe the recent joint licensing arrangement between the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) and Revell Seeds of Dimboola, Victoria, for the new wheat varieties Silverstar and Goldmark introduces a new direction in the broadacre cereal industry.

Here's how it works ...

The AWB and Revell Seeds successfully tendered to the breeder, the Victorian Institute for Dryland Agriculture (VIDA), to commercialise VIDA-developed varieties Silverstar and Goldmark.

Sale of wheat produced from the new varieties is regulated by a contract between growers and Revell-AWB. The arrangement ensures payment of a royalty to the breeder and the licence holder while minimising initial outlays to obtain adequate quantities of improved varieties.

Under Plant Breeders Rights (PBR), farmers may retain seed from Silverstar and Goldmark for their own use but all other grain must be sold to the AWB or one of its nominated purchasers. A one dollar per tonne royalty is collected and distributed to the licensees and breeder. Grain buyers agree to maintain a recording system to monitor grain movements.

The joint licensees, Revell Seeds and AWB, have developed a system of seed distribution which allows farmers in eastern Australia to buy the new varieties either in bulk directly from the seed growers, or bagged from selected seed suppliers.

Distribution of seed in Western Australia is through the AWB regional office network and selected AWB seed growers. All Goldmark and Silverstar seed is purchased from the grower or direct from the AWB cleaned, bagged and registered.

In eastern Australia, Goldmark and Silverstar seed is being bulked-up by a network of seed growers from Dubbo in the Central West of NSW, throughout Victoria and into the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia under an approved seed quality assurance scheme being administered by Revell Seeds.