Sunmaster dawns as Prime Hard option for Vic, SA

Grain Central May 18, 2023

AGT’s Doug Lush with a Sunmaster plot in the Northern region. The variety is now classified APH in the Southern region also. Photo: AGT

IN JULY last year, Grains Australia handed out its first classification of an Australian Prime Hard wheat variety in South Australia and Victoria to AGT’s Sunmaster.

While NVT trials have shown the variety can has been grown with success in both states, it is not expected to have APH segregations to deliver into at bulk-handling sites in the 2023-24 harvest outside New South Wales and Queensland.

Characteristics of the variety make it ideal on paper for milling or for export, but AGT variety support manager Rob Harris said Sunmaster needs to gain some “critical mass” in order for it to attract market as well as grower attention in the Southern region.

New option for south

Australian Hard has historically been the highest-protein segregation available for wheat in Vic and SA, and APH has been open only to growers in NSW and Qld.

Following its commercial release in the 2021-22 crop year, Sunmaster is touted by AGT as the leading APH main-season variety for New South Wales and Queensland.

Dr Rob Harris. Photo: AGT

Sunmaster’s primary parent is Suntop, which it has consistently outyielded, and Dr Harris said Sunmaster was expected to be an alternative to AH varieties including AGT’s Scepter.

Dr Harris said some growers who have trialled Suntop south of its heartland in the Northern growing region may be pleasantly surprised by  Sunmaster’s performance.

“Suntop’s main weakness was screenings, and Sunmaster might gain a bit of popularity because it has more stripe-rust resistance,” Dr Harris said.

South of the NSW-Vic border, Dr Harris said Sunmaster looks to be a better fit than Suntop.

He said its performance in north-east Vic has been particularly strong.

“It seems to have a wider adaptation than a lot of varieties out of the north, and we’re seeing it perform consistently well north of the ranges.”

“It’s yield competitive and it’s got a pretty good physical grain package; that means good test weight and low screenings.”

“If Suntop encountered a hot, dry finish, it had a weakness around screenings.”

Dr Harris said Vic growers in northern parts of the state might have the option of delivering into bulk-handling sites in southern NSW where APH segregations are offered.

“While no APH segregations or delivery points currently exist in Vic or SA, these may develop in response to wider growth of APH classified varieties in these areas,” AGT said on Twitter on May 17.


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