WHEAT growers who reaped the benefits of moving from Mace to Scepter in the past will be able to take another big step forward from next season, with the commercial release of Calibre, the latest variety from Australian Grain Technologies (AGT).
Calibre is suited to all areas that have previously grown Scepter in WA and is the highest-yielding variety from AGT available to growers in the State.
It is a quick-mid maturing variety with head emergence coming a little sooner than Scepter, has an Australian hard (AH) quality classification and a sound physical grain quality package.
AGT wheat breeder James Edwards said that what Scepter was to Mace, Calibre would be to Scepter.
"Calibre will allow growers to take the next step forward in performance and productivity with its elite yields, wide adaptation and improved disease resistance," Dr Edwards said.
"Coleoptile length defines how deeply you can plant the seed, so a longer coleoptile offers advantages for planting deeper to access a receding water profile or ensuring germination if the furrow gets filled by wind or rain events.
"It can also be an advantage for separating the germinating seed from a pre-emergent herbicide application."
AGT's advanced trial series in WA places Calibre at 4.5 per cent higher yield than Scepter.
Over four years of head-to-head AGT observations across WA, Calibre out-yielded Scepter in 20 out of 27 trials.
While testing in the National Variety Trials (NVT) system has been limited (2020 only), Calibre has shown a 3pc improvement over Scepter.
The coleoptile length of a wheat variety is a factor that limits how deep it can be planted, meaning there are many instance where Calibre's notable increase in coleoptile length over Scepter, as well as other varieties such as Mace and Vixen, could be utilised.
Those scenarios include when there is a chance of furrow fill by wind or rain, when chasing receding moisture profiles, or when trying to achieve adequate pre-emergent herbicide separation.
AGT wheat breeder Dion Bennett said Magenta was a good example of a variety with a longer coleoptile that has been used by WA growers to manage such situations.
"Calibre has a similar coleoptile length to Magenta but with market leading yield performance," Dr Bennett said.
"The yellow spot resistance of Calibre is good, achieving a very similar level of resistance to Scepter over five years of AGT testing, while it also offers a valuable improvement in powdery mildew resistance over Scepter."
With Calibre being a quick-mid maturing variety, it is about a week slower than Vixen and a little quicker than Scepter.
Growers who are familiar with the maturity of Mace should feel comfortable planting Calibre in a similar sowing window.
AGT chief executive officer Haydn Kuchel said the company was excited about being able to offer growers another significant improvement in their profitability.
"AGT is all about using our scientific tools and ag experience to develop varieties that help growers thrive," Mr Kuchel said.
"We think we achieved that with Mace and again with Scepter, and we are proud to offer something of real value to growers with Calibre.
"Plant breeding can be a long process - but we get a kick out of seeing our work make a difference onfarm."