AGT releases Scepter wheat replacement, plus two new barleys

Grain Central, September 22, 2021

AGT CEO Haydn Kuchel and wheat breeder James Edwards with the new AGT wheat variety, Calibre. (Photo: AGT)

WHEAT growers who reaped the benefits of moving from Mace to Scepter in the past will be able to take another big step forward from next season with Australian Grain Technologies announcing the commercial release of Calibre, describing it as a ‘Scepter replacement’.

AGT wheat breeder James Edwards said what Scepter was to Mace, Calibre was to Scepter.

“Calibre will allow growers to take the next step forward in performance and productivity with its elite yields, wide adaptation and improved disease resistance,” he said.

Dr Edwards said Calibre was derived from Scepter and offers the significant advantage of a longer coleoptile.

“Coleoptile length defines how deeply you can plant the seed, so a longer coleoptile offers advantages for planting deeper to access a receding water profile or ensuring germination if the furrow gets filled by wind or rain events,” he said.

“It can also be an advantage for separating the germinating seed from a pre-emergent herbicide application.”

Calibre is a quick-mid maturing variety with head emergence coming a little sooner than Scepter.

It will suit all areas that have previously grown Scepter, from Western Australia, through South Australia and Victoria, and into southern NSW.

It has an AH quality classification in these target areas, with a sound physical grain quality package.

In AGT’s long term advanced trials series in South Australia and Victoria, Calibre out-yielded Scepter in 26 of the 29 head-to-head assessments, achieving almost 6 per cent higher yields than Scepter.

In WA in the same trialling program, Calibre beat Scepter in 20 out of 27 trials, or around 4.5pc over-all.

The new variety also has a very useful diseases resistance package.

“So far, our trials have indicated better genetic resistance to powdery mildew than Scepter, Ballista and Vixen,” Dr Edwards said.

“Calibre provides a valuable improvement in stripe rust resistance over Scepter, along with very similar yellow leaf spot resistance.”

AGT Calibre is available through AGT Affiliates and local retailers for 2022 sowing.

New barley varieties

AGT has also released two new high-yielding barley varieties, Cyclops and Minotaur, which will be available in 2022.

AGT barley breeder Paul Telfer said the releases marked the maturity of AGT’s barley breeding program.

“We started breeding barley in 2014 so it is very satisfying to be releasing these varieties following many years of successful trials,” he said.

Throughout its field evaluation, New Cyclops was shown to be the highest yielding barley variety available in western and southern Australia in field evaluations while, in head-to-head trials with popular RGT Planet, Minotaur demonstrated a mean yield advantage of 6pc.

“We view Cyclops as an ‘all-rounder’, performing exceptionally well in medium rainfall, medium yield potential environments, where it has set a new yield benchmark for the majority of Australia,” Mr Telfer said.

“Cyclops also has a physical grain quality and disease resistance package that compares well with most other varieties on the market.”

Minotaur was shown to be an ideal substitute for RGT Planet in medium to high rainfall zones.

“In trials, Minotaur significantly out-yielded RGT Planet in all but the most favourable conditions – including drier seasons with a long and favourable finish, short seasons with terminal drought stress and average seasons with moderate yield potential,” Mr Telfer said.

“Because it has been bred for Australian conditions, Minotaur is better able to deal with our seasonal variability than European varieties.

“It has the top-end yield potential of European barley (like RGT Planet) but with lower risk thanks to its widely adapted Australian genetics.”

Minotaur has a mid-slow maturity that is slightly slower than RGT Planet, providing time-of-sowing flexibility for growers managing a large seeding program or adjusting to a late season break.

It also has better resistance to net-form and spot-form net blotch in some environments.

Minotaur is a relatively compact plant type with moderate lodging resistance.

Cyclops offers growers a quick-mid maturing option, with marginally later awn peep than Spartacus CL or Beast.

Harvest risk, especially losses caused by strong winds near harvest, is reduced through a short plant type with good lodging resistance and head loss characteristics that compare well with varieties like Latrobe and Spartacus CL.

Both Minotaur and Cyclops offer excellent grain quality with superior test weights, low screenings and high retentions when compared to popular varieties such as RGT Planet.

Mr Telfer said AGT now offered a suite of four high performing barley varieties.

“Cyclops and Minotaur join Beast, which performs exceedingly well under challenging conditions, and Yeti which has demonstrated unrivalled yields in northern regions,” he said.

All four AGT barley varieties have entered the Barley Australia malt accreditation program and are currently deliverable as feed.

Cyclops and Minotaur are available through AGT Affiliates and local retailers for 2022 sowing.

AGT barley breeder Paul Telfer with plots of the new Cyclops and Minotaur varieties at AGT’s Roseworthy, SA crop breeding facility. (Photo: AGT)

Source: AGT





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