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La Trobe, the new potential malting Hindmarsh

  • La Trobe offers growers in medium to low rainfall districts similar yields to Hindmarsh with malt quality suited to export brewing industries.
  • Preliminary results look positive for Australian Malting and Brewing Accreditation in early 2014.
  • Growers and agronomists should consider La Trobe for the upcoming season to take advantage of this new opportunity.

The official naming of new barley variety IGB1101 as La Trobe at the Australian Barley Technical Symposium today signifies improved export opportunities for Australian growers in low to medium rainfall areas.

Developed as part of an ongoing collaboration between Syngenta and InterGrain, La Trobe, owned by DPI Victoria, offers similar yields to Hindmarsh, the industry benchmark in terms of grain yield in medium to low rainfall districts, with an improved malt quality.

Syngenta Head of Cereals Australasia Ben Miles says the export malt quality of La Trobe provides an opportunity for growers in southern barley growing regions to capitalise on potential premiums for malting quality grain as well as reap Hindmarsh yields.

“The feedback we’re getting from maltsters and export grain accumulators is that there’s a gap in the market for a high quality export malt variety that is adapted to these growing areas,” says Ben.

“We are hopeful that La Trobe will become an accredited export malt variety, providing growers with all the benefits of growing Hindmarsh, which they like, plus giving them full potential to access a decent malt premium.”

InterGrain barley breeder David Moody says La Trobe is undergoing Australian Malting and Brewing Accreditation and he is positive about the outcome.

“La Trobe has passed the first year of the two year accreditation process and preliminary feedback suggests the variety is progressing well in year two. We expect a final result in early 2014,” says David.

La Trobe is a sister line to Hindmarsh and comes from David’s old DPI Victoria breeding stable. It is a derivative of an elite DPI breeding line, VB9409 and high yielding feed variety Dash.

“The result is an early maturing semi-dwarf variety with good straw strength, lodging resistance and head retention, plus excellent grain plumpness and test weight,” says David.

“La Trobe has a well-rounded disease package, similar to Hindmarsh, with a potential improvement in leaf rust resistance, due to the expression of adult plant resistance. It also possesses Cereal Cyst Nematode (CNN) resistance and exhibits a high level of pre-harvest sprouting tolerance”.

Brothers David and Jeremy Barlow, from Barlow Agricultural, grow predominantly wheat, canola and barley between Jerilderee and Boree Creek. This year they’re growing Baudin, Hindmarsh and Scope varieties, and they’ve got 260 ha of La Trobe as a trial. While the quality won’t be known until harvest, David is happy with how La Trobe is going.

“It certainly looks good at the moment. It’s tillered well, the straw looks strong on it and we don’t seem to have much disease in it,” he says.

If the yields and malting quality live up to promise, La Trobe is certainly an option David will consider.

“We’re looking for another variety and if the malsters are interested in it, that’s what we want. We’ve got to grow what the malsters want,” says David.

Several commercial crops have been grown across Australia and there’s approximately 1600 hectares in the ground this year, with an expected production of around 5000 tonnes of grain. The majority of this grain is destined for further malting and brewing trials, dependent on grain quality at harvest, to help support the development of international markets. Syngenta and InterGrain view market development as a critical stage in the release of new varieties and are actively working with industry to assist the process.

National Variety Trials and commercial paddock scale crops in low to medium production environments consistently demonstrate La Trobe’s superior yield advantage compared to Buloke, Commander and Gairdner. Results also suggest that in higher production regions (>3.5t/ha) La Trobe is still a competitive alternative.

Therefore, with high yields and a malt quality similar to the international benchmark Baudin, growers and agronomists should consider La Trobe for the upcoming season and take advantage of the opportunities available with this new variety, particularly in low to medium rainfall areas.

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