AGT holds Meckering field day

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Australian Grain Technologies' (AGT) new breeding site south of Meckering, which also incorporates variety and agronomic trials, will be on show for growers and industry representatives at the company's inaugural WA field day this month.

The AGT trial site is set over three to four hectares and comprises up to 10,000 breeding and demonstration plots.

The field day, to be held on September 28, will include an overview of WA's commercial wheat breeding program, Clearfield wheat technology, new varieties and advanced lines, agronomic trials including nitrogen usage and sowing rate comparisons and developments in hybrid wheat and a historical wheat variety demonstration.

WA senior marketing and operations manager Nick Joyce said the breeding program at the site included first crosses through to the final stage of elite testing, as well as seed increases of the company's newest wheat for 2012 and a Clearfield tolerance screen trial.

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Other varieties set for release in coming seasons will also be highlighted.

AGT's new wheat for 2012, which performed exceptionally well in last year's National Variety Trials, is an earlier-flowering, Wyalkatchem-type variety with improved vigour that offers excellent cereal cyst nematode resistance.

Mr Joyce said that among the agronomic trials, four different sowing rates had been used to investigate the impact on yield performance and grain quality and also to make comparisons with other benchmark varieties.

"We are measuring maturity, grain yield and quality characteristics based on the different plant populations," he said.

The nitrogen use efficiency trial is assessing the responses of different varieties to different nitrogen applications, again focusing on maturity effects, yield and grain quality.

AGT recently announced the appointment of senior wheat breeder Jason Reinheimer to lead the company's WA breeding operations.

Dr Reinheimer said the company's breeding focus and trial network would extend from Geraldton to Esperance, helping it to select the best wheat varieties suited to each region of the State.

"We plan to work with research organisations including Department of Agriculture and Food and grower groups to run variety-focused agronomic trials and field days across the State," Dr Reinheimer said.

"This internal agronomic research will assist us in gaining a much better understanding of how growers can maximise the potential of our new varieties prior to their release."

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