Brendon Cant brendon at iinet.net.au
Wed Aug 9 03:10:24 CEST 2006

Crop Doctor


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Many WA barley growers, when learning Barley Breeding Australia (BBA)
officially started on July 1, may question the merit of changing a system
that has produced some good varieties, and that at best, life will go on the


But there are big expectations that BBA, the name for a new national barley
breeding program, will provide growers better varieties with market demand.


As part of the change, six state barley breeding programs will be replaced
by three regionally managed nodes focusing on breeding barley based on
market demand and agronomics, such as rainfall and soil types.


In other words, the WA based western node could be breeding barleys for acid
to neutral soils regardless of which state they are ultimately planted.
Similarly, the south eastern node, based in SA, could be breeding for
alkaline to neutral soils found in WA.


Australia's 8 million tonne barley industry needs to significantly increase
production, lifting average yields from 2.1 t/ha to 2.6 t/ha and expanding
the growing area from 3.8 million hectares to above 5Mha to satisfy demand
projected in 2020.


To ensure it gets the market end of the barley breeding equation right BBA
will consult with peak industry body Barley Australia, which includes
maltsters, marketers and bulk handlers.


A whole of industry approach to barley breeding will not only bring in
national expertise but also ensure WA’s export customers receive the barley
they want and, in turn, enable their customers to provide a consistent


The Department of Agriculture and Food will manage the western node,
University of Adelaide the south eastern and Queensland Department of
Primary Industries and Fisheries the northern.


These agencies will also be represented on the BBA advisory board along with
the Grains Research and Development Corporation and NSW and Victorian
Department of Primary Industries.


The final outcome of BBA should be better targeted barley breeding to ensure
Australia’s barleys are preferentially demanded by markets, which is what it
is all about.


While life may go on the same, this system will make a good one even better.


The Crop Doctor is GRDC Managing Director, Peter Reading, Tel 02 6272 5525

Further Information: Leecia Angus, Tel 02 6272 5525


Brendon Cant & Associates
Public Relations & Marketing 
Suite 5
4 Gugeri St
Claremont WA 6010
Tel 08 9384 1122

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