THE FIRST barley developed for Australia by French breeding business SECOBRA will enter seed bulk up this year and will be available for growers next year.
Laperouse was bred by breeders at the University of Adelaide with assistance from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) along with the collaboration with SECOBRA and is likely to have a fit in medium to high rainfall environments.
SECOBRA has provided investment to the University of Adelaide barley breeding program for this variety.
Later on Australian growers can expect to see varieties featuring SECOBRA's French germplasm, with the University working on a number of lines featuring European genetics at present.
Laperouse, however, is all Australian material and is billed as a replacement to the Commander variety, with a strong fit in medium to high rainfall zones.
University of Adelaide barley breeder Amanda Box said the key benefits of the new line include high top end yield potential, along with good straw strength which minimises the risk of lodging.
"This is important as lodging has been an issue in some barley varieties in the higher rainfall, higher yielding environments in wet years causing difficulties and lost yield at harvest," Ms Box said.
"It was in trials in 2016 which was a bad year for lodging and performed well on that front."
Ms Box said the trial results overall were encouraging.
"Laperouse has performed well compared to varieties that are currently popular in the market, with best performance in medium to high rainfall regions of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales," Ms Box said.
"It could slot in really well into that Commander space, with plumper grain, good disease portfolio and that better lodging resistance."
"The variety has shown good grain yield and physical grain quality, as well as exceptionally good straw strength and standability."
Ms Box said she thought the variety would be a good fit in parts of the northern cropping zone, such as northern NSW and southern Queensland as well as in traditional malt barley producing regions in the south.
Laperouse is currently in stage one of malt evaluation trials with Barley Australia.
Crucially, its phenology means it is able to be sown earlier than other barleys which is an advantage given many farmers now have large sowing programs that mean the chance to get crop in earlier is welcome to spread the planting burden.
"It is better suited to earlier sowing opportunities than other spring barley varieties," Ms Box said.
With the forecast switching towards the likelihood of a wetter winter, disease management will be on growers' minds.
Ms Box said Laperouse was bred for improved net and spot form of net blotches.
This year the crop is in a bulk up phase, with a lot of the seed produced being used for malt evaluations, with Ms Box saying the aim was to have a full commercial release next year.