Triticale to the fore

Photo of Jason Reinheimer

With some markets moving away from direct consumption of grains towards "indirect consumption" (drinking milk and eating meat from animals that eat grain), the GRDC has for some time recognised that the world demand for quality feed grain is going to rise.

This has important implications for Australian growers, so the GRDC is investing in the development of better feed grain varieties. One of these is triticale, the versatile hybrid of wheat and rye.

Triticale has several advantages in Australian conditions - it is a relatively lowinput cereal crop with good disease resistance, particularly to rusts. It is as high a quality feed grain as wheat and is a hardy plant.

[Photo: Emerging role: AGT"s Jason Reinheimer inspects another promising triticale line in the AGT greenhouse at Roseworthy.]

Jason Reinheimer, triticale breeder with Australian Grain Technologies (AGT), says triticale is expected to play an important role in intensive cropping systems in the future, and new varieties are being bred in anticipation of the rising demand for quality feed grain.

AGT, a partnership between the GRDC, the University of Adelaide and South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), is one of a number of organisations researching triticale.

AGT has inherited triticale germplasm developed by the University of Adelaide and CIMMYT, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre in Mexico.

Mr Reinheimer is gathering more material from countries such as Germany and Poland where triticale is widely grown. Mr Reinheimer says European triticale lines often experience high disease pressure, while the CIMMYT lines have been developed more with soil toxicity, drought and frost in mind. There is a lot of diversity in triticale out there, and he aims to breed the best characteristics into varieties that Australian growers will be seeing in the next few years.

One promising line - TSA0015 - could be ready by 2007. It is high-yielding, adaptable to low- and high-rainfall areas, and enjoys robust resistance to rusts, high hectolitre weights and low screenings. It has been tested in the field at 15 sites across the southern cropping belt and in WA. Other varieties that also feature resistance to cereal cyst nematode (CCN) are expected to emerge from the program from 2008.

The overall aim of the program is to provide growers with a quality feed grain that can be used more profitably in a range of cropping systems.

GRDC Research Code AGP00005
For more information: Jason Reinheimer, 08 8303 7707