How good is this variety really?

Graingrowers will soon have access to independent performance data on cereals, pulses and oilseeds, allowing easy comparison of varieties and planting strategies.

According to its new chairman, Mick Poole, the Australian Crop Accreditation System (ACAS) will offer industry a high degree of confidence that information about new varieties is relevant and reliable.

"There has been considerable pressure placed on breeding programs to release new varieties, a greater demand for overseas-bred varieties and a plethora of advanced breeding technologies, including genetic manipulation.

"Release of new varieties is now taking place in a commercial environment where ownership and financial return on investment are being determined by Plant Breeders' Rights, licensing and contractual arrangements.

"The grains industry therefore felt the time was right to establish an independent and objective accreditation system," Mr Poole said.

Mr Poole said the system is setting protocols for crop variety evaluation. He said participating breeding programs will use standardised analysis to describe performance and characteristics after rigorous field and experimental testing.

The accredited information will form a database on a user-friendly and interactive Internet web site. It should assist planting decisions by allowing head-to-head comparisons of current and newly released varieties. For growers without Internet access, ACAS is exploring several hard-copy options.

The ACAS scheme is voluntary. "ACAS intends, however, to have ACAS-accredited information clearly branded and recognised in the marketplace and will encourage growers to ask for ACAS-accredited information about new varieties," Mr Poole said.

The web site database should be fully operational by November, in time for next season's plantings.

Program 4.4.4

Contact: Mr Mick Poole 08 9333 6620