Bettong beats stem nematodes

South Australian breeders have released Bettong, a new multipurpose oat variety which is both resistant and tolerant to stem nematode.

"At this stage Bettong is looking very impressive, both as a hay and grain proposition," said Korunye grower David Verner, who is growing the new variety for seed.

"The grain is heavy and plump — it gave us one of the heaviest loads we have had on the truck," M r Verner said.

Export hay

Bettong is particularly suitable for hay. Its disease resistance often enables it to maintain green leaf area longer and this should assist as an export hay where green appearance is a vital quality attribute.

Bettong also produces large grain with high protein and should therefore be popular with livestock producers.

The new variety is expected to replace Swan, Wallaroo, Marloo and Mortlock for hay and grain in areas infested with stem nematode and compares favourably with other tall varieties for grain yield, grain quality and disease resistance.

All states alert for nematodes

The oat nematode is widespread only in South Australia, but scientist Maria Scurrah is on the watch for any border crossing.

"We would like to hear from anyone who has identified the nematode in other regions," said Ms Scurrah.

"Look out for crops which are stunted, swollen at the bottom rather like a tulip, thin looking with a lot of lodging."

Scientists at the South Australian Research and Development Institute are also seeking to provide tolerance to stem nematode in peas and resistance in faba beans, which can favour a build up of the nematode.

CONTACT: Dr Alan McKay 08 372 2339