High hopes for new oat variety

Countryman

Growers, breeders and millers are looking to a new high-yielding oat named Bannister in the hope that it will provide a boost for WA's oat export capacity.

Bannister, tested as WAOAT2354, will be available to growers for next year. While it has not yet been classified as a milling grade oat, Agriculture Minister Terry Redman said he was confident it would reach milling standards.

Releasing the variety at the Wagin Woolorama, Mr Redman said WA had been unable to meet the growing export demand for milling oats because grain producers had opted to grow higher yielding feed oats.

"It is anticipated this new variety will turn this trend around. It is a high-quality, high-yielding oat with a very good potential for milling grade," he said.

Trial results from 2004 to 2010 show Bannister averages 3.51t/ha compared with Carrolup (milling oat) at 2.94t/ha and Wandering (feed oat) at 3.33t/ha in WA trials.

"The new oat variety has the potential to increase annual production by about 20 per cent, which would deliver an additional $3.6 million to growers," Mr Redman said.

"In addition, Bannister has improved resistance to stem rust, leaf rust and septoria."

Chris Maughan, supply chain manager of Quaker Oats Australia, a division of PepsiCo, shared Mr Redman's optimism for WA's milling oat industry.

"We are encouraged by the development of a milling variety that will yield well and we are very hopeful it will go through the full milling tests later this year and will achieve the flavour and aroma the market requires," Mr Maughan said. "We also hope this will lead to an increase in milling oat production in WA in the next few years."

Mr Maughan said another varieties in the pipeline - WAOAT2332, due to be tested in 2013 - also looked promising and showed similar yields to Bannister.

Bannister was bred under the National Oat Breeding Program by Department of Agriculture and Food WA and SA Research and Development Institute researchers.

It is commercialised by CBH and will be available to growers for the 2013 season through Seednet.

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