DR Katharine Cooper came to Australia in 1982, with a UK-earned BSc (1st class honours) and PhD, to undertake a two year research fellowship on the relatively new crop triticale.
Kath’s task was to improve triticale’s drought hardiness, by hybridising wheat and rye and performing selection in the tough and drought prone environments that the previously imported lines failed to perform up to expectation in.
Thence followed a 25 year University of Adelaide based career in triticale breeding and associated industry development.
During this time Kath became a well known enthusiastic and dedicated champion of triticale, more than achieving the original aim.
A succession of varieties with improved yield, grain type, disease resistance and adaptation to difficult farming environments, were released.
Many farming businesses reported triticale as their easiest crop to grow with the best gross margin.
Since 2004 Kath has been in a farming business, specialising in triticale seed production.
Here she has produced further new varieties, making a total of 13 triticales and one rye.
Kath’s immense contribution to this crop has been acknowledged by the International Triticale Association, as she was granted one of their few life memberships.