GRDC research drive on world wheat markets

Dr Lynne McIntyre, Dr Howard Eagles and Mr Dale Baker

Wheat is by far Australia's biggest grain crop and the most significant contributor of research levies through the GRDC.

The GRDC's Producing Wheats for Market program therefore covers major investments — $11.4 million — in wheat improvement, evaluation and agronomic packages. The goal is to make the most of genetic yield and quality potential of existing and new varieties to suit international markets.

This involves breeding, selection and development of improved varieties for each region. While the emphasis is on bread wheats, the program includes durum wheat breeding for pasta production, and some work on dual-purpose or feed wheats.

Related research includes grain-quality testing to support the breeding programs, and pathology work to help screen breeding lines for disease resistance or tolerance. Breeders are applying modern technology such as doubled haploids to shorten delivery time, and molecular markers to assist with selection, as they become available.

Members of the GRDC's Producing Wheats for Market program are Dr Lynne Mclntyre (northern region program leader), Dr Howard Eagles (southern region program leader), Mr Dale Baker (western region program leader), Dr Mike Carroll (program manager) and Ms Julie Haldane (program officer).