Brendon Cant brendon at iinet.net.au
Thu Sep 7 02:35:20 CEST 2006



Two WA scientists collected germplasm from the northern hills of Israel
recently just months before it was shelled by the recent war with Hezbollah.


The imported germplasm will be grown and characterised by the Australian
Trifolium Genetic Resource Centre at the Medina Research Station. 


Flowering time, growth vigour, plant morphology and seed production will be
assessed and promising accessions will be made available for breeding and
selection programs.


Grain Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) supported researchers,
Richard Snowball and Dr Phil Nichols, both of the Department of Agriculture
and Food, recently returned with 562 germplasm accessions from 104 species.


Germplasm offering the improved pasture potential in WA will be identified
following initial characterisation.


Among material collected of particular significance are the accessions of
Trifolium glanduliferum, which could contribute new genes for late flowering
and cold tolerance.


Speaking at a Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture seminar Mr
Snowball said that the remarkable discovery of Biserrula pelecinus in very
low rainfall sites (105 mm annual rainfall) would benefit WA's low rainfall


Non-aromatic types of Bituminaria bituminosa, a species that has potential
as a perennial fodder legume were also discovered.


Mr Snowball said Israel was a particular collection target because it has
the same latitude and a similar Mediterranean climate to WA's wheatbelt.


He said that many Trifolium and other annual legume species originated in
Israel and despite high industrialisation and urbanisation levels, natural
environments with high species diversity were found.


The trip was conducted in collaboration with the Israel Gene Bank, Volcani
Centre, as part of a GRDC-supported project aimed at collecting plants from
low rainfall areas.


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

Further Information: Richard Snowball, Tel 08 9368 3517

GRDC REF: CDAug064.doc


BARLEY FIRST FOR WA - Barley growers are set to reap significant benefits
from the world's first acid tolerant malting barley developed by GRDC
supported Department of Agriculture and Food researchers.


Developed by barley breeders Changdao Li and Reg Lance, the new acid
tolerant breeding lines yield up to 90 per cent more than current malting
varieties on highly acid soils.


The acid soil lines, developed from non-GM molecular markers and traditional
breeding techniques, are derived from WA malting barley varieties, Baudin
and Hamelin, which have high malting qualities.


"The new acid soil tolerant lines not only show high tolerance to acid soils
but also maintain the high malt quality of Baudin and Hamelin," Dr Li says.


They will be evaluated commercially before release to growers, possibly in
three years.  More about the new lines is outlined in the August issue of
GRDC's Ground Cover.

Contact: Dr Chengdao Li, Tel 08 9368 3843


NEW TRIALS FOR NO-TILL -  WA No-Till Farmers Association (WANTFA)
has received GRDC funding to conduct two trials, which could take no till to
a new level.


One of the trials with the Mingenew Irwin Group and at a WANTFA location
still to be determined, is long term and initially funded for three years,
while the other three year project aims to develop cover cropping options
for the farming system.


"Following a visit by Paraguayan no-till expert Ralph Derpsch last year, it
was agreed long term trials were needed," WANTFA scientific officer Ken
Flower said.


The WANTFA Derpsch report recommends farmers increase soil organic matter by
retaining as much soil cover or stubble as possible and virtually eliminate


"Some ways in which we can do this are by using disc seeders to keep as much
soil cover as possible, not burning stubble or over grazing sheep in no-till
paddocks, adequate rotations and the use of cover crops," Dr Flower said.

Contact: Dr Ken Flower, Tel 08 9622 5584


 Authorised by GRDC and issued on its behalf by Brendon Cant & Associates,
Tel 08  9384 1122 


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