October 30, 2012
Seeds from twelve perennial wheat lines grown at Cowra have found their way to trial sites in the USA, Canada, Italy, Nepal, South Africa, United Kingdom and the Netherlands as researchers across the globe work to develop viable perennial wheat crops. NSW Department of Primary Industries researcher, Richard Hayes, said the International Genotype x Environment trial is contributing to a world-wide quest to understand how environmental factors affect the longevity of perennial wheat crops. “Locally we’re testing 16 genotypes with four trial sites planted this year in Australia,” Mr Hayes said. “Wagga Wagga, Cowra, Manjimup, and Toowoomba trials will allow us to test the longevity and grain yields of the lines in our major wheat growing areas. “The collaborative approach was devised at the International Perennial Grains meeting hosted by Michigan State University in July last year after we presented the findings from the first Australian feasibility study into perennial cereal crops.” Mr Hayes said the Australian study showed very promising results in terms of the longevity of the perennial hybrids. “In some instances the lines performed better in Australia than they had in the environments in which they were developed,” he said. “The International Genotype x Environment experiment has been devised to make use of the most promising material from the Australian study and explore the environmental drivers which govern their longevity. “The lines have been shipped back to their country of origin for a comparative evaluation along with the other top lines.” Currently there are 10 experiments sown around the world with two experiments, in Nepal and Italy, now entering their second year. Another 11 sites in USA, Canada and the UK are being sown this season. The Cowra Agricultural Research and Advisory Station has grown and supplied seed to all the trial sites.