Past, present and fu­ture

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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.

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