National barley breeding program steps closer

Plans to bring barley breeding into a nationally-coordinated program have moved a step closer with the different breeding program leaders agreeing on the need for structural change to keep Australian programs internationally competitive.

A meeting of the National Barley Breeding Steering Committee - with representatives of all barley-breeding states - and the GRDC has now formally agreed to pursue the creation of a National Barley Breeding Program.

A national program would raise the level of barley breeding, not just to provide growers with improved varieties, but also ensure breeding programs are in step with market forces.

The steering committee, at a meeting in Adelaide on 21 October, also agreed that Barley Australia should be recognised as the peak industry body and provide market direction to the breeding programs.

GRDC managing director Peter Reading said the intention was to meet the needs of growers for better varieties, plus the needs of the malting, feed and special-purpose end-users.

He said a national program would deliver improved efficiency through increased collaboration and integration, and still have the capacity to cater for specific regional or end-user requirements.

This strategy is in line with "Single Vision" Australian Grains Industry Strategy 2005-2025 that was launched at Grains Week in April 2004.

A key part of the proposal is also to establish a national intellectual property sharing program. This would provide for:

The next step is for the steering committee to discuss its plans with Barley Australia and the wider industry. It is hoped to have a National Barley Breeding Program in place by the end of February for implementation from July 2005.

Full details of the National Barley Breeding Program proposal can be found on the GRDC website at "Australian Barley Breeding Program future directions".

GRDC Program 1