Early vigour coming along

the first early-vigour milling variety could be available to growers within three years depending on its performance in trials this year

THE EARLY vigour project is part of the High Performance Crops for Australia program led by CSIRO researcher Richard Richards.

Dr Richards said the first high-vigour variety of milling wheat, produced in cooperation with NSW Agriculture and Graingene by incorporating early-vigour characteristics into an established wheat line, could be available to growers within three years depending on its performance in trials this year.

Several outstanding parent lines with high early vigour are now being trialled in the Graingene wheat improvement program which would be used to produce varieties combining superior early vigour with desirable yield and milling characteristics, Dr Richards said.

Early-vigour wheats have loug coleoptiles that improve emergence and establishment, faster early leaf growth, which improves the seedlings' ability to compete with weeds, and are efficient users of water.

CSIRO researchers have recently found that good early above-ground vigour is matched by outstanding root development, which suggests new-generation early-vigour varieties may be well equipped to handle 'hostile' saline and acid soil conditions.