Two new barley varieties to boost industry

Thursday, 23 March 2006

Two new barley varieties being released by the University of Adelaide's Barley Breeding Program - Flagship(tm) and Fleet(tm) - promise to significantly boost exports for the Australian barley industry and provide major gains in yield and disease resistance.

The new malting barley variety Flagship(tm) is expected to set a new standard for malting quality for the Japanese, Chinese and South-East Asia malting and brewing markets.

The University of Adelaide's commercialisation arm, Adelaide Research and Innovation, today announced its commercialisation partner for the new varieties - leading Australian agribusiness, ABB Grain Ltd. Along with Flagship(tm) and Fleet(tm), a third barley from the program (known as WI3586) will be put through a final testing regime by ABB to determine its market fit.

ABB will maximise the tonnage of Flagship(tm) seed available for growers in 2007 with a large-scale seed multiplication program during this year. This will be managed by leading seed company PlantTech. The 2006 season also will see ABB and its Victorian-based industry partners Barrett Burston Malting and the International Malting Company manage production of crops needed to complete the malting and brewing evaluation process against established protocols.

"Our approach to the release of Flagship(tm) is focused on having the variety accepted by the international and domestic markets over the next 18 months, so that when the first crops of Flagship(tm) are harvested in 2007 the demand will be firmly established," ABB's Executive Manager of Corporate Affairs, Maggie Dowling, said.

"The market development strategies will include ABB (and its malting division Joe White Maltings), BBM and IMC co-ordinating the export of container loads of malting barley and malt to international customers in 2006 and 2007."

Ms Dowling said preliminary indications from international markets for Flagship(tm) were "very good".

University of Adelaide Barley Program Leader Dr Jason Eglinton said: "These new barley varieties are very different but together offer major benefits for the Australian barley industry and barley growers.

"In breeding these varieties, the university has taken advantage of the cutting-edge research at its Waite campus in plant biotechnology and plant genetics for significant scientific outputs which will have substantial commercial impact for the industry and barley growers."

Flagship(tm) has been developed specifically for the large brewing and malting markets in South-East Asia, China and Japan and should set a new international benchmark standard for these markets in terms of its malting quality profile. Brewers in these countries use a different method to that of Australian brewers.

The new variety also has major agronomic improvements, showing a 7% increase in grain yield over the current industry standard and improved disease resistance. Using plant biotechnology techniques has seen the variety developed for commercial release in eight years, well short of the traditional 12-14 years.

Fleet(tm) is a feed barley with improved disease resistance and a 5% yield advantage over the established variety Barque. Fleet(tm) also shows improved adaptation to poor soil types, producing even higher yield gains in the sandy soils common in major barley growing areas in South Australia and western Victoria.

ABB has partnered with the Australian Field Crops Association for the production of Fleet(tm) seed. Like Flagship(tm), the 2006 season will be used to multiply seed with growers being able to access the variety for sowing in 2007.

The University of Adelaide Barley Program developed the new varieties with support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation and private sector investment by the Australian barley industry including the Malting Barley Quality Improvement Program.

"The commercial launch of the new varieties demonstrates the value of combining university-based research and development with strong industry partnerships," Dr Eglinton said.


Contact Details

Dr Jason Eglinton
Barley Program Leader
School of Agriculture, Food & Wine
The University of Adelaide
Business: (08) 8313 6553
Mobile: 0429 689 040

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814

Ms Maggie Dowling
Executive Manager, Corporate Affairs
ABB Grain Ltd
Business: (08) 8304 5060
Mobile: 0407 713 092