Past, present and future
Afield demonstration exhibiting the evolution of crop varieties grown in the Wimmera has been hand-sown by Agriculture Victoria staff at Horsham.
Dubbed the ‘heritage trial’, it will be a showcase of wheat, barley, field pea, lentil, chickpea, canola and safflower varieties currently grown in the region and many varieties that were grown in years gone by.
The trial has been established as part of Grains Innovation Park’s 50th anniversary celebrations this year.
The community will have an opportunity to view the trial, located behind the Australian Grains Genebank at Grains Innovation Park, throughout 2018.
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 including old lines such as Federation and Olympic right through to newer releases such as Mace and Scepter, as well as some still-to-bereleased varieties.
Barley lines will range from 1968-released Clipper through to some of today’s Clearfield varieties such as Scope CL. In total, 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 that have different morphologies, such as black glumes and club heads, included in the trial.
“The heritage trial will also tell the story of pulse adoption and adaptation in the Wimmera,” Dr Rosewarne said.
“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 recentlyreleased 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.
“About 20 lentil, field pea and chickpea varieties have been included in the trial.”
Another important inclusion are oilseeds, with canola being a more recent introduction to regional crop rotations.
“With the recent proliferation of canola varieties available to growers it was difficult to narrow down which varieties to select,” Dr Rosewarne said.
“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,” she 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 Grains Innovation Park’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Event details can be found online at agriculture.vic.gov.au/horsham.
ANNIVERSARY TRIAL: Agriculture Victoria senior research scientist Dr Garry Rosewarne hand sows a crop for a ‘heritage trial’ he designed in collaboration with Grains Innovation Park research staff.