Varieties and Cultivars
The following is a selection of crops grown for grain production.
Generally all of the grain that is produced can fit into the categories of
cereals, pulses or oilseeds. Listed below is each category, type of crop
and the varieties that we grow commercially. The symbol
denotes that a Plant Breeder Rights applies for that cultivar.
Cereals are related to grasses and their grain is used extensively for
human consumption and stockfeed, although grazing and hay production is also
important. The cereals grown in the Wimmera include wheat, barley, oats and
triticale. They are sown after the first Autumn rains, usually in May or early
June. Cereals need to flower in late October, which is late enough to avoid
the risk of frost yet early enough to avoid the onset of summer drought. They
turn golden brown when ready for harvesting in December.
Barley (Hordeum vulgare)
The majority of Wimmera barley is of malting quality and is used for beer
making. However, the supply of grain for stockfeed (especially downgraded
grain) is important. Barley looks very similar in the paddock to wheat. It
also has awns (strong bristles on the part of the flower that protects the
seed, making the flower or seed head look hairy) but is a lighter yellow-green
in colour and when the heads begin to ripen the stem bends just below the
head, they "nod" and the awns turn yellow.
- Malt barley
Gairdner is a moderately late maturing, semi-dwarf variety with grain size
superior to Franklin. Gairdner also has good head retention. Although Gairdner
is a semi-dwarf variety, it can be quite tall under favourable conditions
where it may lodge. In drier areas, Gairdner should be sown in May, as late
sowing may result in high screenings. The variety is inherently low in grain
protein (0.7% lower than Schooner) and appropriate nitrogen management is
essential to avoid excessively low protein levels. Gairdner is very
susceptible to spot form of net blotch and growers concerned about this
disease should avoid this variety. Gairdner has good resistance to the net
form of net blotch and powdery mildew, however, Gairdner is now considered
susceptible to scald.
WI3408 - Trial barley
An advanced line aimed at the export malt industry that yields like Gairdner
but has better disease ratings.
VB0105 - Trial barley
Another advanced line also aimed at the export malt industry. It yields
better than Gairdner in low rainfall areas but has some lower disease ratings
Wheat (Triticum aestivum)
Is used for pan and flat breads, noodles, cakes and biscuits; the starch
and gluten is used for confectionery, gums and thickeners in a range of food
products. About 80 per cent of Australia's wheat production is exported to
Asia and the Middle East, the remainder is used domestically. Wheat is also
used as a stockfeed, either grown specifically or downgraded on quality from
the human consumption market. All wheat varieties grown since the early
eighties have awns (strong bristles on the part of the flower that protects
the seed) making the heads of either white or brown straw varieties look
- Bread wheat
AH quality with resistance and tolerance to CCN. Is rated MR-MS for stripe rust
and is susceptible to stem rust and moderately susceptible to leaf rust. Boron
tolerant, large grain and low screenings. Yitpi is dominating production in low
rainfall areas of Victoria, due to its high yields and improved grain quality.
Pulses are edible legume crops such as peas, faba beans, chickpeas and
lentils. These are sown in early May through to July, and flower in late
September/early October. They are direct-headed (harvested) in December/early
Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum)
Are used for human consumption, mainly in Mediterranean-style cooking, including
hommos and dips. They are the last of the crops to mature and are green when
everything else is drying off. In the paddock, they look bluer than lentils or
peas and are smaller leafed than faba beans. There are two types of chickpeas;
kabuli with white flowers and large seeds, and desi with blue flowers and small
seeds. They are short, well branched and have fat pods containing one or two
seeds. They are harvested in late-December early January.
Has excellent ascochyta blight resistance and will require less fungicide
applications than Howzat. It has dark brown seed similar to Tyson but has been
lower yielding than ICCV96836 and Howzat.
HOWZAT - Desi
Susceptible to ascochyta blight, but less so than other current varieties.
Howzat has moderate early vigour. Initially prostrate rather than erect, but
standing ability improves towards maturity. Early flowering with brown grain of
medium size. Howzat is less susceptible to botrytis grey mould than most current
varieties. Fungicides will still be required but the risk of failure will be
significantly reduced compared to current varieties.
Kaniva - Kabuli
Very susceptible to ascochyta blight. Kaniva has been the main kabuli variety
grown in south-east Australia. It can be very profitable despite requiring
regular fungicide sprays. It has poorer standing ability than most varieties.
Lentils (Lens culinaris)
Come in both red and green lentils are grown in the Wimmera. They are used
for human consumption; green lentils are used whole and red lentils are split.
The crop is one of the shortest crops grown; only averaging 20 to 30 cm in
height. The tiny white and blue flowers are grouped along the branches and the
red or brown seeds form in tiny, flat, pea-like pods which turn brown as they
ripen. They are very even in height.
Aldinga - Red Lentil
A mid season variety that has a large seed with a pale seed coat. Aldinga is
prone to lodging and is moderately resistant to ascochyta blight and moderately
susceptible to botrytis grey mould.
Oilseeds (Asteraceae &
Oilseed crops are grown for their oil which can be used for liquid or
spray oils, margarine, condiments and in food processing, industrial oils or
for biofumigation. After the oil is removed, the remaining meal can be used for
stockfeed. They include canola, mustard, safflower
Safflower (Carthamus tintorius)
Another oilseed crop with yellow flowers but flowering much later than
canola. Related to thistles, it is mainly an 'opportunity' crop following a
wet winter. The oil is used for cooking and industrial oils. Safflower grows
40 to 80 cm high depending on the season.
Sironaria - Linoleic / Birdseed
Safflower production in Australia commenced in the 1950ís with a disease prone cultivar (Gila) that was introduced from Arizona. The CSIRO commenced a safflower breeding program in 1975 and released Sironaria with good disease resistance in 1987. Sironaria, a birdseed/linoleic oil cultivar, has become the most widely grown cultivar in Australia.
Sironaria is white hulled and predominately sold to the volatile birdseed markets
while its oil is not suitable for the expanding oil markets.
Most of this information is from the Department of
Primary Industries Victoria Crop Management and Crop Identification resources.
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