March 13, 2013
The State’s farmers are well placed to capitalise on the growing demand for soybeans following the release of a new, high performing soybean variety, Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director Plant Systems, Dr Alison Bowman, said today. “The new variety, called “Bidgee”, outperforms other varieties on yield, crop vigour and protein levels,” Dr Bowman said. “The variety has been specially designed for the irrigated regions of southern NSW. “The release of the new variety follows extensive research by the Australian Soybean Breeding Program, a partnership between DPI, Grains and Research Development Corporation and CSIRO. “Much of the research and development was conducted at DPI’s Leeton Field Station. “It was given the name Bidgee, which refers to the Murrumbidgee River in southern NSW that supplies the irrigation water, the life-blood, of the Murrumbidgee irrigation areas.” Dr Bowman said the new variety will allow growers to produce high quality soybeans for the human consumption markets. “Soybeans are a legume and are fast becoming one of the pillars of irrigated cropping in southern NSW, alongside the rice, maize and cotton industries,” Dr Bowman said. “Riverina farmers will benefit greatly as the Bidgee variety has consistently produced grain yields of up to 9 per cent higher than other varieties. “The new improved variety has excellent early crop vigour, is faster growing and has increased genetic potential to produce high protein levels. “Bidgee will provide flexibility across sowing dates and is quicker to finish which reduces the total crop water use. “Much of the soybeans produced in the Riverina are used in the manufacture of soymilk and tofu.” The 2012-13 forecast is for up to 20,000 hectares of irrigated soybean in the Riverina region which is estimated at a farm gate value of between $30-$52 million. “I would like to acknowledge the work of Dr Andrew James, Project Leader, CSIRO Brisbane who conducted the line crossing and Mr Luke Gaynor, Research Agronomist, DPI, Wagga Wagga who identified the line and conducted the trials and evaluation,” Dr Bowman said.