MORE THAN 100 varieties of wheat, barley, field pea, lentil, chickpea, canola and safflower that have been grown in the Wimmera over the past 50 years have been sown in a heritage trial at Grains Innovation Park (GIP) at Horsham.
The field demonstration was hand sown last week by Agriculture Victoria staff, and will be open to the public to view as it grows throughout 2018.
The heritage trial is a showcase of varieties that are currently grown in the region, and many varieties that were grown in the past.
The trial is part of the Grains Innovation Park’s 50th anniversary celebrations this year.
Agriculture Victoria senior research scientist, Dr Garry Rosewarne, designed the trial in collaboration with Grains Innovation Park research staff.
“Our researchers made suggestions about what varieties to include in the trial,” Dr Rosewarne said.
“Then we all got together and hand-sowed the plots.”
Included in the demonstration are 29 wheat varieties.
These include old lines such as Federation and Olympic right through to newer releases such as Mace and Scepter, as well as some still-to-be-released varieties.
Barley lines will range from the 1968-released Clipper through to some of today’s Clearfield varieties such as Scope CL.
A total of 21 different barley varieties will feature in the demonstration.
The diversity captured through the Australian Grains Genebank will also be demonstrated with some ornamental wheat and barley lines included in the trial that have different morphologies such as black glumes and club heads.
“The heritage trial will also tell the story of pulse adoption and adaptation in the Wimmera.
“The trial will show how we have evolved from favouring trailing pea varieties such as Dun to our more recent semi-dwarf lines such as Kaspa and the recently-released PBA Butler.
“Lentils and chickpeas will also feature, being crops that are such an important part of the farming story in this region, including how breeders responded to outbreaks of ascochyta blight.
Around 20 lentil, field pea and chickpea varieties have been included in the trial, and oilseeds also feature.
“With the recent proliferation of canola varieties available to growers, it was difficult to narrow down which varieties to select.”
“However, conventional varieties as well as triazine-tolerant, Clearfield and Round-up Ready varieties will all be on show, as well as experimental safflower lines representing current research looking to develop the industry.”
Agriculture Victoria plant production sciences research director, Traci Griffin, said an enormous amount of planning had gone into the trial and the sowing activities.
“We had 23 staff volunteer to help sow the trial, ranging from graduates to some of our senior researchers,” Ms Griffin said.
“As a result, we were able to hand-sow 20 plots to seven crop varieties in less than an hour.”
The Heritage Trial is just one element of the Grains Innovation Park anniversary celebrations, which will include a display recognising the site’s history and showcasing the work carried out at GIP.
From next month, stakeholders, businesses, schools and community groups are invited to book in for a tour of the site which will take in the world-class phenomics facility, and the Australian Grains Genebank, as well as the Heritage Trial.
The celebrations will culminate with an Open Day from 1pm to 6pm on 18 October which will include site tours, demonstrations and static displays.
Source: Agriculture Victoria