A NEW wheat variety with a very unique 'slow, very slow' spring maturity, which is best suited to mid and late April sowings, has been released by Australian Grain Technologies (AGT).
The variety, named Denison, was developed by AGT's Northam breeding team and emerged from a cross between Mace and Corack.
It's maturity is very uncommon and has a highly competitive yield when sown early, plus it has Australian Premium White (APW) classification in WA, SA and Victoria.
AGT wheat breeder Dion Bennett said Denison, which was tested as WAGT734, caught their attention with its very unique maturity relative to other commonly grown varieties.
"Up until now, there has been a gap in suitable wheat varieties for the sowing opportunity between early April (winter wheats) and late April (mid-slow spring wheats)," Dr Bennett said.
"Denison is a slow-very slow spring wheat, a maturity that is very uncommon, but fits the sowing window of mid April that traditionally has been uncatered for.
"Although the mid-April planting opportunity may only account for a small percentage of the total sowing program, we are very proud to offer a well-adapted and suitable variety for this purpose."
As there are no other varieties in that maturity window which are adapted to WA conditions, Denison should bridge the gap between mid-slow spring varieties, such as Catapult and Magenta, that are sown around Anzac Day, and the really long-season varieties which have more of a very late March or early April sowing.
Denison is only the second variety to come out of AGT's Northam breeding program, the first being Bremer which was released around 2014.
Dr Bennett said Denison's parents, Mace and Corack, were both mid-spring season varieties which were in that main season window with a quicker maturity.
"Somehow they've combined to create this very slow maturing line," he said.
"The cross was made in 2010 and it makes it more impressive that it's come through our main season breeding program, as for something with such a long maturity, it's yield has stood out enough for it to keep advancing to the next stages."
Denison offers MR MS (moderately resistant moderately susceptible) to yellow spot, MR (moderately resistant) to stem rust and S (susceptible) to leaf rust, and therefore should suit wheat on wheat situations.
Resistance ratings for diseases including powdery mildew and septoria tritici blotch are being sought through trials this year.
Dr Bennett said Denison had excelled in early sown AGT trials, yielding just as well as quicker maturing varieties planted at the same time.
"In the main season sowing trials, around the second half of May, which is what the majority of our trials are targeting, it's maturity at times does mean yield is penalised, but that's because it's such a long maturity versus all the main season lines," he said.
"There are environments in that main sowing window where it has matched Scepter for yield, but where it really stands out is in our early sown trial network.
"Those trials are sown late April to early May, which is still on the later side of Denison's maturity, but it has outclassed the quicker winter varieties and matches the Anzac Day wheats, like Catapult, for yield in that right sowing window."
The key is getting it in the ground in mid-April, if the conditions permit it, and if that happens it would be adaptable to a fairly large part of the WA Wheatbelt.
Denison is protected by Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) and all production, except seed saved for planting, is liable to an End Point Royalty (EPR), which funds future plant breeding.
Growers will be subject to a Growers Licence Agreement that acknowledges that an EPR of $3.40 per tonne plus GST has to be paid on all production other than seed saved for planting.
Dr Bennett said growers can contact AGT's affiliate network, which will have a very good supply of seed available for planting next season.
"I'm excited to release the variety but also excited for the team to get some reward for all the hard work they've put in," he said.
"The breeding program has been running for 18 years now and we have a dedicated team in Northam which runs all of the field trials and produces all of the data which enables us to select varieties like this which offer value to growers.
"It's a real numbers game with it taking 10 plus years to get something through the pipeline and I'm hoping the team will be able to celebrate a few more releases in the coming years."