Wheat: Resistant varieties launchedDurum: industry development officerSeed: weed watch

Two new wheat varieties with resistance to stripe rust and cereal cyst nematode (CCN), developed by Australian Grain Technologies (AGT) may be released this year. AGT wheat breeder Dr Russell Eastwood says that RAC1055 is a high-yielding, early-flowering line for low rainfall regions. It is rated "moderately resistant to moderately susceptible" to all known leaf and stripe rusts, including the current epidemic strain. It has resistance to stem rust and higher yellow leaf spot resistance than "Frame", "Yitpi"Variety protected under the Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994 and "Janz".

VQ0326 is an early-maturing line resistant to CCN with good resistance to all rusts commonly found in southern Australia. It is suitable for low-to-medium rainfall areas and is expected to be a rust-resistant alternative to "H45"Variety protected under the Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994.

The commercial release of both breeds is awaiting AWB quality classification.

For more information: Dr Russell Eastwood, 03 5362 2148, russell.eastwood@dpi.vic.gov.au

Former agronomist with Eastern Farming Systems at Tamworth Agricultural Institute, Joshua Gordon, has been appointed as the first durum industry development officer for a three-and-a-half year term as part of a GRDC-funded support project.

Mr Gordon"s duties will include developing and delivering best management practices for growing durum wheat, with the aim of enabling an annual Australian durum production of one million tonnes a year - with a target of two million tonnes a year by 2015. He will also be a liaison officer between all sectors of the industry, from breeders to end-users.

GRDC Research Code: DAN00060

The fight against herbicide resistance is turning to seed purchases in the wake of this season"s harvest.

The WA Department of Agriculture"s Greg Shea is urging growers to take a few basic precautions against buying-in seed contaminated with herbicide-resistant weed seeds. He says precautions should include:

Herbicide resistance has become a focus for Plant Health Australia, which is running a National Plant Health Awareness Campaign encouraging growers who spot anything unusual in their crops to report it to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

For more information: Georgina Bryant, Plant Health Australia, 02 6260 4322 or 0413 625 314

PBR Varieties displaying this symbol beside them are protected under the Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994.