WA growers who hope to take advantage of early-season moisture now have a new variety option following the release of Australian Grain Technologies’ (AGT) winter wheat Longsword.
Derived from Mace, Longsword is best suited to low and medium rainfall areas.
The new variety can be sown from early April, fitting into the planting window between the longer season, traditional winter wheats and the more commonly-sown spring varieties.
AGT wheat breeder Dr James Edwards said the new variety had unique maturing characteristics that made it suitable for planting within a wide and flexible sowing window, while remaining less susceptible to frost and heat damage.
“In environments with a distinct dry finish, if flowering occurs outside of the optimum time or grain fill occurs too slowly, drastic yield reductions can occur,” Dr Edwards said.
“With its three vernalisation genes, Longsword will remain vegetative across a broad planting window and should deliver an optimal flowering time, but not linger through grain fill.
“There is nothing else like it on the market as winter wheat breeding and selection has traditionally been undertaken in areas where there is a softer finish to the season.”
AGT national marketing manager Dan Vater said AGT had been working on Longsword for the past eight years.
He said the winter wheat variety was ideal for WA growers wanting to capitalise on opportunistic earlier sowing.
“Growers are constantly expressing a desire to get into paddocks earlier but we are already pushing the limits on how early we can sow our current spring varieties, Mr Vater said.
“We finally have a variety that you can plant through most of April before you swap over to a spring wheat like Scepter in May.
“It gives them (growers) much more flexibility on when they can start sowing and if there’s some early rains then they might be able to take advantage of them.”
Mr Vater said while Longsword was not expected to replace more popular WA wheat varieties, it could be a useful cropping program option.