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SOUTHERN NOODLE WHEAT TRIALS SHOW PROMISE
INTERGRAIN is on the cusp of releasing two new varieties tailored to keep WA growers in the Noodle wheat-growing game and stop them from swapping to Hard varieties.
InterGrain senior wheat breeder Dan Mullan said the Arrino and Calingiri replacement lines were so close to the breeding finish line that they would be released in time for commercial production next year.
According to Mr Mullan, the newly perfected Arrino-type IGW6042 is a line that Japanese millers are particularly excited about thanks to its quality performance in noodle-making trials and testing.
He said it performed better than the Noodle variety Fortune, which in recent times has grown in popularity alongside the slow demise of Calingiri plantings in WA and it would keep WA’s international Noodle wheat market competitive in terms of demand.
He said the variety displayed improvements in all leaf diseases over Arrino and could be grown in traditional Udon Noodle wheat-growing locations in the central to northern regions of WA’s Wheatbelt.
“It’s an earlier-maturing line and has the same maturation time frame as Arrino,” Mr Mullan said.
“The variety will also provide substantial benefits to the WA grower because it does have a five to 10 per cent yield advantage over Arrino.
“We’ve been waiting for a while to achieve such a substantial yield jump to re-excite uptake in Noodle-growing in WA.”
He said IGW6046 – a Calingiri type – would provide the answer to the Calingiri replacement problem the industry has battled with for a number of years.
He said it too displayed an improved quality over Calingiri but not quite to the same levels as Fortune and IGW6042.
“It has the same maturity timeframe (if not a touch earlier) than Calingiri and also displays a five to 10pc yield advantage over Calingiri,” Mr Mullan said.
“Calingiri has been grown more broadly than Arrino in the past but it maintains its popularity due to its environmental flexibility.”
He said InterGrain was waiting to receive one final data entry this week before being given the official go-ahead to make the variety available for growers to sow in 2015.
The news coincided with last week’s visit by Japan’s First Lady Akie Abe, to the South Perth-based Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC).
The wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe keenly reconfirmed industry ties in a bid to sure-up Noodle wheat supplies, when she dropped by the laboratories to taste-test udon noodles made from WA flour and carry out talks with Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) director general Rob Delane and AEGIC chairman Terry Enright about ensuring WA growers continued to grow Noodle varieties for export to Japan.
In recent years growers in some parts of the WA Wheatbelt have favoured Hard wheat varieties which perform better agronomically in their paddocks.
AEGIC strategic market analyst Peter Elliott said that way of thinking aligned itself with an emerging concern in Japan that WA growers might gradually shift away from planting Noodle wheats to favour more recently released Hard wheats which could impact on the stable supply of WA Noodle wheat exported to Japan in the near future.
He said for many growers there was an emerging agronomic gap between newly released Hard wheats and Calingiri – the main Noodle wheat currently grown.
But he also stressed that the industry wasn’t facing an imminent disaster, rather that it needed to work together to ensure that the WA Noodle wheat supply model is fit for purpose and beneficial for growers and customers alike.
“At present supply disruptions for Noodle wheat are driven primarily by seasonal conditions,” he said. “But with the gradual shift in area planted away from Noodle wheat, it leaves industry with less margin for error if drought does emerge.”
Mr Elliott also said the Japanese Government and industry have been working with local stakeholders, including traders and industry bodies like the Grain Industry Association of WA and AEGIC, with the goal of ensuring the continued success of the long-term and stable Noodle export business.
Story Courtesy of Bobbie Hinkley, Farm Weekly 17th July 2014