HARVEST has begun across hundreds of Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) trial plots located in Victoria's cropping regions.
Visiting some of the trial plots near Horsham, Agriculture Minister Joe Helper said in all about 135,000 plots of cereals, oilseeds and pulses will be harvested in coming weeks from an area covering more than 150ha.
"We want farmers to achieve the most from new varieties of crops and results from these trials have the potential to control future diseases as well as improve yield, grain plumpness and a crop’s ability to grow in hostile soils," Mr Helper said.
As part of Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA), the DPI's Molecular Pulse Breeding program will soon begin harvesting some of more than 60,000 plots covering nearly 70ha on seven sites at Nandaly, Culgoa and Beulah in the Mallee and Horsham, Minyip and Natimuk in the Wimmera.
The pulse harvest includes chickpeas, lentils, field peas and faba beans grown as part of the national Pulse Breeding program.
“DPI has a lead role in PBA’s efforts to improve the profitability of pulses and expand production in Australia, particularly in the development of reliable, high yielding lentil, field pea and kabuli chickpea varieties for human consumption markets and in identifying new genes for tolerance to salinity and boron in all crops," Mr Helper said.
He said around 30ha of oilseed trial plots are being harvested as part of the Oilseeds Program, which has been researching specialty canola – currently, the only program in Australia for drier climate juncea canola.
“Many trials are part of the GRDC National Brassica Germplasm Improvement Program, with a focus on identifying new genes for blackleg resistance and shatter tolerance needed to sustain the canola industry into the future,” he said.
DPI’s cereal program leader David Moody said harvest would soon begin on trials looking at genes that influence grain plumpness in barley and re-tracing the 10,000 year development of wheat to improve wheat’s resistance to crown rot, stripe rust and yellow leaf spot.
“The vision is to discover the genes that result in a good variety, allowing breeders to complement traditional field-based selection with DNA based selection for improved varieties,” Mr Moody said.
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