Flinders taking off in the Great Southern
Mark Adams and friends in his Flinders crop.
With the prevalence of leaf diseases in the Great Southern, barley grower Mark Adams is always keen for new varieties with better yield and disease resistance.
With the release of the new Flinders barley in 2015, Mark believes he might have found it.
Flinders, a new mid-long season, malt accredited barley is seen as an alternative for Bass, Gairdner, Granger and Vlamingh in medium-high rainfall areas.
Mark bulked up two tonnes of Flinders seed in 2015, running it alongside his Bass. While malt accreditation appeals strongly, Mark said a big draw card of Flinders is the disease package on offer.
“On the south coast we’re under an incredible amount of pressure from leaf diseases. We’re constantly battling them each year.
“Not having to spray crops to salvage them is a good thing” Mark said of Flinders ability to reduce fungicide pressure, save time and ultimately improve yields.
“We’ve been wanting a barley variety that has the MLO gene providing resistance to powdery mildew and Flinders has been developed with this.”
As well as powdery mildew resistance (R) and moderate leaf rust resistance (MR), Flinders has moderate resistance to barley yellow dwarf virus, an advantage given the aphid pressures in the region in recent seasons.
After involvement within InterGrain’s accreditation crop program, Mark got an early look at Flinders by trialing it on his own farm and found it to offer an eight to ten per cent yield advantage over his Bass.
“At the time, I wasn’t really assessing it too hard, as you don’t know if it will end up being released, but at no time was I disappointed,” he said.
Having put in 27 hectares of Flinders in 2015, Mark said that after a slow start, Flinders took off.
“I’m happy with Bass this season, but I’m happier with Flinders as it yielded a half tonne to the hectare better.
“Towards the end of the season, Bass got quite badly affected by leaf rust and we had to spray. However, we had no problems with Flinders, so as well as being resistant to powdery mildew, it is a lot more resistant to rust.
“Flinders also coped better with the rapid and dry finish. Bass droughted out in the poorer soil, but the Flinders has finished well.
“At the moment we’re 100 per cent Bass except for the Flinders bulk-up. I’ve already decided that in 2016 we’ll be 50 to 75 per cent Flinders.”
With premium export malt quality characteristics and strong market development expected for Flinders, Mark said he believes Flinders is the way forward for barley in medium to high rainfall areas of Western Australia.
InterGrain CEO, Tress Walmsley, says, “We are extremely pleased with the CBH operations Flinders segregation at Cranbrook for the 2015 harvest”.
“This segregation is a very positive signal for the variety and paves the way for continued market development in 2016.
“CBH is encouraging growers to target Flinders as one of their four preferred varieties in 2016 as they are confident that critical volumes of the variety will be available next harvest.
“InterGrain will also continue to promote the variety by working with export grain traders and domestic maltsters to promote Flinders’ premium export brewing characteristics to international markets.”
Flinders barley seed is available for sowing in 2016 and can be purchased from registered Syngenta Seedgro members or local resellers. For more information, please contact Ash Brooks on +61 88 488 904 or visit the website www.intergrain.com.