WESTERN Australian grain growers are set to benefit from a new direction in wheat breeding after the official launch of the new company InterGrain last week.
Agriculture Minister Kim Chance and Grains Research and Development Corporation chairman Keith Perrett unveiled the company which will have responsibility for State Government wheat breeding research and development.
The launch was held before a packed house of industry representatives from WA and interstate at the Agriculture Department’s headquarters in South Perth after InterGrain was established by the Government and the GRDC.
Mr Chance said InterGrain was the company which would now be responsible for the future breeding and selection of superior WA wheat varieties.
Mr Chance said it would carry on the Agriculture Department’s proven track record of developing high performing wheat varieties such as Wyalkatchem, Carnamah, Calingiri, Arrino and Westonia.
“InterGrain will provide high-performance, cost-effective cereal crop breeding services to the WA and Australian grains industry,” Mr Chance said.
Shareholders had transferred ownership of wheat varieties and germ plasm to InterGrain.
“This step has been enabled by the passing of the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act last month, which enables the Government to be a shareholder in such commercial entities as a crop breeding company,” Mr Chance said.
“A continuing majority shareholding will maintain the Government’s strong interest in ensuring there is ongoing access for local grain growers to locally bred varieties.”
The Government did not intend to cease investment in public plant breeding, Mr Chance said.
Mr Perrett said Australian wheat breeders were world leaders in applying grain breeding biotechnology.
InterGrain was a new commercial venture that would work in partnership with the Agriculture Department and other plant breeding research providers, he said.
“InterGrain will utilise cutting edge technology in developing better varieties faster to address growers’ cropping needs,” Mr Perrett said.
The company will be governed by a board of three directors chaired by former GRDC western panel head Dale Baker.
The other inaugural board members are former CBH secretary and current Wheat Growers Association executive officer Peter Wells and Melbourne-based Ross Fellowes.
InterGrain will be co-located at the department’s South Perth facilities.