IN recent seasons WA growers have been encouraged to stop planting the Noodle wheat variety Calingiri in favour of its modern replacement Fortune.
InterGrain's Fortune is promised to produce excellent yields, have superior udon quality over Calingiri and good milling characteristics.
But to Emerald WA general manager Murray de Jong and former WAFarmers grains council chairman Derek Clauson, the idea of disregarding Calingiri as a staple WA Noodle variety was like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
They believed, because Calingiri was still performing well in WA paddocks and it continued to form a significant proportion of WA's Noodle blend exported to Japan and Korea each year, growers should be supported in their quest to produce it, especially if it delivered farmers better gross returns.
So in an effort to address the challenges growers faced in marketing their Noodle wheat WAFarmers and Emerald recently launched a 2012 season Calingiri pool.
"Unlike some Noodle varieties, Calingiri is widely adapted," Mr de Jong said.
"It remains the most popular Noodle variety by a significant margin in WA.
"It has less challenges in production, performs well agronomically and customers continue to use it in noodle manufacture.
"The most important thing for WA is to produce enough Noodle wheat.
"Until new Noodle varieties are developed which have the same agronomic benefits as Calingiri we simply need growers to continue to produce it to maintain our ability to meet the annual 1.8 million tonne Noodle wheat blend demand from the premium Asian markets."
But WA Noodle wheat plantings declined in the 2012/13 season, according to Mr de Jong.
And he believed it was due to a lack of promotional support and the inability of marketers to extract overly large premiums for growers.
He said another challenge was that a large number of growers had replaced their Noodle plantings with higher yielding and seemingly higher earning hard wheats.
Yelbeni grower Derek Clauson was instrumental in the creation of the pool and said the WA grains industry had long recognised the need to protect the State's Noodle market.
"When I was president of its grains council, WAFarmers was always receiving delegations from Japan and they were always very concerned about continuity of supply," Mr Clauson said.
"What concerns me is that under CBH's Optimisation the industry tends to be moving back towards cliff-face pricing."
He said the 2012 Calingiri pool was an example of a pool setup which sought to protect quality payments.
"I saw this as an opportunity for growers to work with marketers and marketers to work with end users to set up a co-operative, interactive pooling process in order to protect the position of everybody in the marketing chain," Mr Clauson said.
"By introducing a varietal pool we're saying we don't want quality payments to be chopped out of the system.
"If growers continue to produce high quality wheat they need to continue to see the rewards for doing so."
Mr Clauson said Noodle premiums were much less than they used to be so this season's crop had to be about yield performance and the message from growers was that while there was no price signal to switch to another variety, Calingiri continued to suit their situation.
"Emerald through its direct connection with the Sumitomo Corporation clearly understands the Noodle market and with this pool is demonstrating it understands the marketing support growers are seeking," Mr Clauson said.
"The pool will receive all varieties of Noodle wheat in addition to Calingiri so I would encourage all growers to explore the pool because working together we can advance Noodle marketing and at the same time work towards improving growers cash flow and profitability.
"It's an opportunity for growers to get involved to protect their own position and vote with their feet.
The 2012 Calingiri pool closes at the end of the month.
Mr de Jong said there was a premium to contract in up until the end of this week and a new payment option for the product which included a harvest distribution would be available.
The pool finishes in December in order for Emerald to participate in early shipping in the new season.