New screening service for barley varieties

The West Australian
DAFWA research officers Sharon Westcott and Dr Gaofeng Zhou conducting molecular test in the laboratory.
Camera IconDAFWA research officers Sharon Westcott and Dr Gaofeng Zhou conducting molecular test in the laboratory. Credit: Countryman

A rapid and inexpensive screening service to distinguish between barley varieties Scope and Buloke is being developed by the Department of Agriculture and Food WA and AGWEST Plant Laboratories.

Sampling will be administered by the AGWEST facility in South Perth, with screening carried out by DAFWA staff at the State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre at Murdoch University.

DAFWA principal research officer Chengdao Li said the tests used an advanced DNA fingerprinting technique.

"Screening will be important, as Barley Australia and CBH have both advised that the malt grade Scope and Buloke will not be co-binned to ensure the market can be confident in terms of end-use reliability and production performance," Dr Li said.

Buloke, released in 2005, is well established and has developed an international reputation as malt-quality barley.

Scope, released in 2010, is approved by Barley Australia for malting and brewing.

The two barley varieties are very similar, except the variety Scope contains a gene resistant to the broad spectrum herbicide Intervix.

"The screening tests will utilise molecular marker technology and will test for the presence or absence of the herbicide tolerance gene," Dr Li said.

"Growers may wish to test seed prior to seeding in 2014 to ensure that Buloke and Scope are correctly identified if they plan to apply Intervix."

A second test will also be available and can determine the purity of the sample (percentage of Scope barley).

For information on sample submission and test costs, contact Marcia Vistisen at AGWEST Plant Laboratories on 9368 3844 or marcia.vistisen@agric.wa.gov .au.

Contact Dr Li on 9368 3843 or chengdao.li@agric.wa.gov .au for information on the technical aspects of the tests.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails