Wheat Variety Master List protects wheat industry competitiveness
The responsibility for the protection of Australia’s $7 billion wheat industry lies in the hands of every grower, trader and miller and there has never been a more important time to focus on the integrity of one of our major exports.
That’s the message from Dr Don Plowman, Chairman of Wheat Quality Australia, who this week announced the annual release of WQA’s Wheat Variety Master List.
The Master List contains the names and highest possible grade for current wheat varieties approved by Australia’s wheat classification process. Released in September each year it forms part of each season’s Grain Trade Australia Wheat Standards.
“The list provides essential information about the quality attributes of existing and new varieties to all participants in the value chain,” Dr Plowman said.
The 2015 list includes 17 new varieties – Beckom, Impress CL Plus, Zen, Hydra, Cosmick, Sunlamb, Hatchet CL Plus, Bremer, DS Newton, DS Pascal, DS Darwin, Flanker, Hekto, Ovalo, Jade, Tenfour and B53.
Newly listed varieties include one Noodle Wheat (ANW), one Prime Hard (APH), five Hard (AH), four Premium White (APW), two Standard White (ASW) and four varieties with FEED as their primary class.
The range of classes released shows the breadth of new varieties being classified to meet a range of market needs, such as an increasing emphasis on animal feed. The AH, APW and ASW releases also cover at least three of the four classification zones, giving the vast majority of growers new choices across a number of classes.
This year’s Master List also sees the durum variety DBA Aurora, which was new to the 2014 Master List, upgraded to ADR in the South East.
In addition to the new releases and upgrades, there have been two other significant changes this year.
Firstly, in continuation of the initiative launched last year, an additional 81 rarely grown older varieties have been flagged for removal from the 2017 list, after a consultation process was undertaken with grower groups this season.
Secondly, from this season on, the practice of “defaulting” a variety to a class outside of its primary zone will cease. As a result of this, newly listed varieties will be shown as feed outside of the zones for which they have been awarded a class. In addition, the highest grade available to a variety in the absence of an awarded class will be feed.
“Australia has a fantastic international reputation for delivering a consistently high-quality product which meets end user expectations,” Dr Plowman said. “But as we enter into an era of higher demand and increased competition we need to ensure integrity is paramount.”
“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 our trading partners and consumers.
“We are all in this together and everyone has a responsibility for the brand reputation of Australian wheat.”
Dr Plowman was appointed as Chairman of WQA in March 2014 after a career in agricultural research and policy development with Primary Industries and Regions SA. He said his goal has been to reaffirm the WQA’s role in the protection of the Australian wheat industry’s value.
“The Grains Research and Development Corporation and Grain Trade Australia are committed supporters of WQA and, with a new management structure, a refreshed Board and a brand new easy-to-navigate website, we’re here for the long haul,” Dr Plowman said.
WQA is also investigating how it can connect breeders and growers with end users to provide more precise and up-to-date market information.
“Breeding takes a long time so we need to be thinking about what quality attributes end users will require in 10 to 15 years’ time, not just what they need right now,” Dr Plowman said. “I’m also keen to open up a discussion about feed wheat and the role it is playing in the broader challenge of meeting Asia’s changing dietary needs – animal protein versus grain protein.
“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 2015 Wheat Variety Master List is available from the WQA website at www.wheatquality.com.au and is published in the Grain Trade Australia commodity standards at www.graintrade.org.au. For further information on the 17 new varieties, please contact the relevant breeding companies and seed commercialisers.