Designer Wheats

Growers' Needs

  • Rust-resistant wheats — $22m in annual crop losses
  • Crown rot and yellow spot resistance — $105m in wheat losses
  • Common root rot resistance — $22m in losses
  • Septoria tolerance — $86m in losses
  • Rhizoctonia and take-all bio-controls — $88m in wheat losses
  • Drought wheats (coleoptile design). Growers' losses to drought: $2.5bn in 1994-95.
  • Sprouting-resistant wheats. $80m lost in bad years.
  • Larger, black-point resistant quality wheats. $52m in lost returns.

Long Range R&D:

  • Salt, boron, acidity and alkalinity tolerance. Cost over $130m in crop losses.
  • Frost-tolerant wheats. Frost cost $100m in southern states in 1998.

Quality Market Needs: $3bn in Opportunities

  • 'Bright' wheats for yellow alkaline and udon noodles — East Asia: $1.3bn market.
  • Wheats for Chinese steamed breads: $617m market.
  • Wheats for 'sponge & dough' breadmaking.
  • Better wheat doughs for flat bread: $1.1bn market,
  • Bread and biscuit wheats for Australia: $87m market.
  • Pasta durums for Italy and Australia with 'eye appeal'. $120m market.
  • 'New function' industrial starches and proteins.

21st Century R&D Toolkit (GRDC & Partners)


  • Doubled haploids — for faster breeding
  • Gene markers — for 'difficult' breeding targets
  • Interspecific crosses — overcoming barriers to crosses between species.
  • Clonal propagation — rapid regeneration of whole plants from single cells
  • Premium wheat varieties — higher yields and premium qualities
  • Transformation for 'new' characteristics — better productivity and environmental protection


Farming systems — new technologies


Market management

  • Better market intelligence
  • Product quality — DNA fingerprinting