[ASC-media] ZONING IN ON BREEDING: Crop Doctor

Brendon Cant brendon at iinet.net.au
Wed Nov 22 02:28:03 CET 2006

ZONING IN ON BREEDING 22.11.06<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
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Segmenting Australia’s wheatbelt into classification regions enables
breeding programs to develop varieties suited to specific agro-ecological


Addressing the Grains Research and Development Corporation supported growers
’ day at the Australian Cereal Chemistry Conference, Richard Williams of
Curtin University said Australia’s dynamic wheat breeding industry was still
changing and he proposed further changes to its current classification


Completing his PhD, he is testing whether Australia’s wheatbelt could be
divided into zones that reduced environmental variance more than the
existing seven classification zones.


His research has been funded by Australian Wheat Board (International) Ltd
and all Australian wheat breeding programs contributed data.


Mr Williams said variety breeding had changed due to target regions
expanding, a greater diversity of germplasm being used and rationalisation
of testing regimes, which could potentially increase quality variability.


He compared the group of current classification zones to divisions of the
wheatbelt based on sowing recommendations, agro ecological data, annual
rainfall, seasonal climatic profiles, grain filling maximum temperatures and


A conclusion is that Australia’s wheat variety classification system could
benefit from focusing its boundaries on such environmental divisions of the


He believes that such divisions could offer improved quality consistency, an
important feature of being competitive in the international marketplace. 


In addition, the best ranked divisions comprised less than seven zones,
creating potential efficiencies in the new variety classification process.


Mr Williams believes this would save costs for plant breeding companies and
increase benefits for growers.


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

Further Information: Richard Williams, Tel 08 9266 4465

GRDC REF: CDOct061.doc/Angus

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


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