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New oat varieties required

for Australian hay industry

BREEDING oat varieties specifically for hay will enhance the oaten hay industry.That’s the opinion of Brookton farmer Colin Butcher, who attended the WA Hay Day in Northam last week.

Mr Butcher said breeding varieties suitable for hay, rather than grain, was one of the major hindrances of the hay industry.

“I know we are breeding new varieties but they tend to be focused on grain qualities whereas we are looking for different qualities with hay,” he said.

“We are seeing a tendency to look towards shorter varieties of less bulk, putting more effort into the grain rather than the stalk, and as we know, that isn’t where our industry is focused.”

But help is at hand.

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National Oat Breeding Program (NOBP) principal plant breeder Dr Pamela Zwer told Hay Day delegates the focus of her scientific research was on improving the oat varieties for grain and hay yield potential, disease resistance and hay and grain quality.

“We know that different qualities are desired for hay and for grain production and we are trying to marry those sets of qualities together,” she said. “This will give growers more options when it comes time to either cut the crop for hay or leave it for grain.

“You have to appreciate we are looking at eight milling quality traits, four hay quality traits, eight or so diseases and trying to increase yield, so it is a pretty major undertaking.

“It also takes about 15 years from when the cross is made to when there is enough seed for commercial use and there has only been a national breeding program for oats in WA for seven years.

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Dr Zwer said it was an exciting time for oat variety release in WA with a few new varieties, which have been bred specifically for WA, soon to be released.

“There is a new variety for WA, WA2332, which will be released in a few years time,” she said.

“We also have another WA line, WA2354, which will be launched at this year’s Wagin Woolorama.

“While these are bred specifically for milling they have been performing fine in terms of hay production, particularly the WA2354.”

Newly-released oat varieties Mulgara, Tungoo and Tammar have been specifically bred for hay production.

They are all mid to late season varieties which Dr Zwer said helped achieve improved early vigour.

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“They also have improved disease resistance, showing resistance to cereal cyst nematode, stem and leaf rust and bacterial blight,” she said.

While these new varieties were developed in the Eastern States, their availability in WA will be determined in the next few weeks.

NOBP’s manager for industry development Peter McCormack, said there is currently no plan to get Tungoo into WA but the availability of Tammar and Mulgara was being discussed.

“There was already a small quantity of Mulgara and a small quantity of Brusher available,” he said.

“My understanding is that there are moves afoot to try to get Tammar certified to get it across to WA.

“At this stage there is no plans to get Tungoo into WA but they are also looking at getting additional quantities of Brusher and Mulgara back to WA but this will depend on grower inquiry and demand over the course of the next week or two.”

Currently the National Oat Breeding Program is running trials in Williams, York and Wongan Hills, which are made up of advanced breeding lines of oats for both milling and hay production.

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May 1st, 2012
Topic: EVENTS FAIRS SHOWS, STOCK FEED Tags: , , , , , , ,

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