Wheat Quality Australia (WQA) has released its 2014/15 Annual Report to mark the first year of a four-year agreement between WQA, the GRDC and GT. Under this agreement GRDC is providing funds to support WQA activities and GTA members are providing substantial in-kind contributions, to the Council and Board.
The Annual Report outlines the outcomes and achievements of the WQA Board, Wheat Classification Council and the Variety Classification Panel for 2014/15. In summary they are:
The 2014 Master List was publicly released on 1 September 2014 and included 11 new varieties – Kiora, Condo, Sunmate, Mitch, Supreme, Viking, DBA Aurora, Harper, Scenario, Adagio and Manning. The new releases included a new Udon noodle wheat for Western Australian growers (the first since 2009), a new Durum, two new APH varieties, three feed varieties and a number of new AH and APW varieties.
Following a rigorous review during the previous 12 months, and consultation with leading national and state grains industry organisations, 46 varieties greater than 10 years old and representing less than 0.1% of deliveries to a region, were identified for removal from the Master List. These old varieties will remain on the Master List for two years prior to their removal.
During 2014/15 considerable work was undertaken to review the next tranche of old varieties. As this group contained varieties in most classes and regions, consultation with grain growers and marketers was more extensive. The 81 varieties recommended for removal from the Master List were published in September 2015.
In May 2015 the Board also approved an increase in the review period from 2 years to 5 years for “old varieties” remaining on the Master List following the 10 year review.
A Review of Controls was undertaken in 2014 with the removal of nine existing controls and the addition of 13 new controls. The new controls were included in the October 2014 update of the Classification Guidelines.
In March 2015, a review of Durum Controls was undertaken and an updated set of Control Varieties was prepared and included in the 2015 update of the Classification Guidelines.
Laboratory Proﬁciency and Methods
AWB commenced a Laboratory Proficiency Program in the early 2000s, which was reviewed in November 2008 by the National Measurement Institute, with the aim of improving the reliability and integrity of the data provided for classification. WQA has continued this program, with Grain Growers Ltd contracted to conduct Rounds 6 and 7. In early 2014 tenders were called for a service provider to conduct Rounds 8 and 9 of the proficiency program. Grain Corp –who bid on a pro bono “industry good” basis – was the successful tender.
Round 8 of the Laboratory Proficiency Program commenced in October 2014 and results were provided to participating laboratories in February 2015. This round showed an improvement over the previous rounds, in both the number of tests for which there were outliers, and in the number of outliers in total.
WQA commissioned John Oliver to undertake a comprehensive review of laboratory methods used in assessing wheat quality and used by the Wheat Classification Panel in classifying varieties. Oliver’s report “WQA Proficiency Testing Program: Report of Analysis of Laboratory Methods” was completed in June 2013. The report made 50 recommendations to improve the accuracy and repeatability of grain quality analytical methods.
During 2014/15 two workshops with laboratory managers were held to discuss each of the recommendations. These workshops resulted in agreement on 36 of the original 50 recommended changes, and a continued commitment to work through the remainder. A number of these will be the subject to tests in Round 9, which took place in late 2015 and will be reported in 2016. The impact of the changes will be measured in the next proficiency rounds.
Market Driven Classification System
The implementation of a market driven classification system was further developed in 2015, with a review identifying three templates that, once completed, would improve the current system.
The three templates under development are:
• Template 1–The quality performance of the existing crop
• Template 2– Where the current classes of grain are sent
• Template 3– What the 5-10 year market signals are
These templates will be populated during 2015/16.
Wheat Classification Database
An online database to assist in the efficient manipulation and storage of data for classification has been developed and is in the first stage of evaluation for routine application.
Late Maturity Alpha-Amylase (LMA)
LMA remains a significant area of concern for WQA and for its stakeholders.
Agreement was reached for an increased level of LMA field trials, through a joint arrangement between the Wheat Breeders Reference Group members and GRDC. This will be actively supported by WQA. As a result of this agreement, the limited field trial study conducted during the previous season (2013) was expanded to 71 sites for the 2014 trials, substantially improving the volume of field data.
An improved LMA test protocol was included in the October 2014 Guidelines resulting in a more reliable and reproducible set of outcomes, which will reflect the current boundary for market acceptable risk.
National Australian Prime Hard (APH)
The APH project delivered its first full season of results in 2014. The second milestone report from Statistics for Australian Grain Industry showed a number of interesting results. The report demonstrated that the quality traits used for classification of APH Wheat are subject to sources of variation related to environmental and environment/genetic interaction (GxE).
No discernable pattern has yet been demonstrated for these interactions.
The second year field trials were selected for testing in 2015 and the laboratory trials commenced in July 2015 at Agrifood. Planting of season three trials occurred in April and May 2015, with testing of the 2014 harvest samples commencing in June 2015.
Council and Panel
The Council Charter was amended during the year, primarily to include Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) and GRDC representation, and to extend the term of each Council member, from one to two years. Its major operational activities included a review of controls, the Market Intelligence Project, and a review of laboratory proficiency and methods.
Panel members were appointed for a one-year term, to 31 December 2015, and held four meetings during the year to consider 89 applications. All decisions regarding applications were reported to applicants within 48 hours of the Panel Meetings via Panel Reports Cards.
To read the full 2014/15 Annual Report please click here.