- Developers claim it is cost effective and accurate
- Will be increasingly utilised in buyers’ QA process
- Also covers germination and vigour
A NEW barley varietal identification test will be available to growers in the lead-up to the 2013 planting season.
The barley variety ID test, developed by the GRDC and commercialised by GrainGrowers (GGL), is a leap forward in terms of accuracy and depth of results compared to older tests.
“This test, which uses DNA markers, as opposed to the old tests, which relied on protein markers, is about 95pc accurate, compared to 80pc accuracy with the old tests,” said GGL grower products and services manager Alicia Garden.
She said the test would also tell growers what other varieties they had in the sample, as opposed to old tests, which would just say how much of the sample was not the variety it was supposed to be.
GRDC manager of commercial farm technologies, Paul Meibusch, said the testing service could be a valuable measure for growers wanting to ensure that their crop would meet brewers’ needs, with an increasing focus on specific varieties for specific applications.
“The market wants more pure varieties of barley for brewing, and the Barley ID testing service is an essential tool for growers who want to ensure that the variety of barley they intend to grow will meet that demand,” he said.
“The testing method is highly accurate, and can detect even minor levels of contamination.”
He said the large number of DNA markers used, which allow the testers to identify specific varietal traits.
Ms Garden said the test would allow growers to meet increasingly stringent quality assurance (QA) requirements from malt barley buyers.
“It will enable growers to confidently market their malt barley, knowing it is the variety they say it is.
She said the major gains for growers would not come in the form of a premium, but in terms of maintaining market access.
“All indications are that buyers will be putting increased focus on QA, and this is an easy way for growers to meet any increasing requirements.
“I think in the future this sort of test will be required by the buyers, so it is probably good practice for growers to use it, especially when they can also use it to get germination and vigour results as well.”
The Barley ID Testing Service uses gene trait information from the Data Arrays Technology (DaRT) service. DaRT has 400 generic barley variety markers that define all common malting and feed barley varieties.
During testing, technicians extract DNA from sample seeds and compare its traits to those in the DaRT database.
A GrainGrowers is providing priority testing for farmers until April, in the lead up to sowing this season’s barley crops.