AWB Ltd has upgraded the classification of GBA Sapphire wheat from AWB Premium White (APW) to Australian Hard (AH).
AH is the highest pay grade awarded for hard wheat in WA.
Grain Biotech Australia (GBA) general manager Dr Paul Fox said Sapphire had excellent milling and bread making properties, earning it an AWB Prime Hard (APH) classification in the prime hard wheat regions of eastern Australia.
Mr Fox said a relatively soft finish to the 2003 growing season in WA led to a shortage of high protein samples for end-product testing, and resulted in Sapphire's original classification of APW in WA.
"However, in 2004, the generally harder finish to the growing season and judicious use of nitrogen fertiliser by GBA ensured adequate protein levels for detailed evaluation," he said.
"The CBH Metro Grains Centre laboratory generated data on 1000 kernel weight, hectolitre weight, screenings, grain protein, grain moisture, falling number and kernel hardness.
"These were submitted to AWB who requested further samples in order to analyse the milling and dough properties and evaluate bread and noodles for the variety.
"The outcome of this end-product testing regime was an AH classification for Sapphire in WA."
Mr Fox said Sapphire had become known to farmers as the quiet achiever, although in the paddock it is not a spectacular looking variety, with more and smaller heads than some other varieties.
"However, its merit shines through in terms of yield and adaptation," he said.
Mr Fox said AgriTech crop research determined dollar returns per hectare in WA and southern NSW.
He said the WA result showed it is particularly suited to the south coast of WA, where its strong disease package and weather resistance were essential.
GBA Sapphire is commercialised by Pioneer Hi-Bred Australia.