As part of its ongoing work to improve the competitiveness of Australia’s wheat industry, Wheat Quality Australia (WQA) released its 2016 Wheat Variety Master List on 1 September, with the addition of eight new varieties and the removal of 46 old varieties, flagged in 2014.
“Global wheat prices are historically low and Australia is being increasingly challenged to maintain its share in key export markets on a price basis – Australia must continue to lead with quality,” Dr Don Plowman, WQA Chairman said.
“WQA’s role in managing the Master List is to not only approve new varieties but to also ensure the List is as user friendly and up-to-date as possible.
“This means removing varieties that are no longer relevant to contemporary market requirements, and reviewing varieties (still being grown) that may not meet the current quality requirements of their class.”
This year WQA flagged 46 varieties that were classified more than ten years ago with deliveries less than 0.1% for removal from the Master List, however, through consultation with industry, six varieties out of the 46 were requested for maintenance – Rosella, QAL200, Anlace, Wylah, Marombi and Petrel – and have been retained.
As part of this quality review process, WQA also commissioned an expert sub-committee of the Wheat Variety Classification Panel earlier this year to conduct a science based review of the performance of an additional 45 varieties that are still being delivered at 0.1% or more, but had been classified more than 10 years ago.
Using data submitted for classification and other available high quality data sets, to assess if the varieties still met the current requirements of their class, the group recommended that 16 varieties across all zones have their classification changed or reviewed.
These recommendations were then referred to a consultative group representing growers, agronomists and the trade who accepted the recommendations for 14 of the varieties, with further review needed for Calingri and Strzelecki, for which the consultation process will continue in 2016 and 2017.
In the Northern Zone, H45 (APW) has been recommended to be downgraded to ASW; APH varieties Strzelecki, Cunningham, Batavia, Chara, Hartog and Sunbrook have been recommended to be downgraded to AH; and Kennedy (also APH) has been recommended to change to FEED.
Following the consultation process, the recommendations were accepted, with one exception. A further season was to assess if suitable alternative APH varieties to replace Strzelecki can be proven in areas where this remains a dominant variety.
Growers will still be able to deliver these varieties into their current class in 2016 and 2017, with agreed changes becoming effective for 2018 deliveries.
“This is all part of our ongoing task to ensure quality, by reviewing varieties that were classified more than 10 years ago,” Dr Plowman said.
“As a result, over 220 varieties have been identified for removal, re-classification or a change in classification over the last three seasons.
Dr Plowman said the role that WQA has played in quality management, since the deregulation of the bulk wheat export market in Australia, has been vital in maintaining the trust of trading partners and consumers.
“We are all in this together and everyone has a responsibility to contribute to the positive brand reputation of Australian wheat,” he said.
“The support of Grain Producers of Australia, Grain Growers and Grain Trade Australia is acknowledged and the process of updating and refreshing the Master List will now be ongoing.
“It’s an exciting time for Australian grain producers and traders and I am very positive about the role that WQA plays in the industry.”
The WQA 2016 Wheat Variety Master List is now available from the WQA website at www.wheatquality.com.au. It will also be published in the Grain Trade Australia commodity standards at www.graintrade.org.au. For further information on the management of Old Varieties on the Master List, please contact Grain Producers Australia or Wheat Quality Australia.
NORTHERN ZONE WHEAT VARIETIES REVIEWED IN 2016
Chairman, Wheat Quality Australia
Mobile: 0401 122 179
Executive Officer, Wheat Quality Australia
Mobile: 0414326 007
Mobile: 0433 931 592