A NEW Prime Hard (APH) quality wheat released by Australian Grain Technologies (AGT) is designed to have lower screenings and improved yields in the northern cropping zone.
AGT officials are excited about Sunchaser, which they say has performed well in official trials in northern NSW and southern Queensland and will compete with Suntop, a leading variety in the region.
AGT's marketing manager Douglas Lush says the new variety, called Sunchaser offers growers in NSW and Queensland a package deal with its combination of agronomic features.
"Our team are excited to release this variety as a lower risk alternative to Suntop, with excellent grain size, reduced levels of screenings, improved yields, a longer coleoptile and increased disease resistance," Mr Lush said.
"Over the last three years of testing, Sunchaser has produced grain with lower screenings levels than Suntop and Reliant while proving very similar to Spitfire," he said.
Importantly, given the dry seasons in the north over the past three years, Sunchaser performs well in high screenings environments, such as dry and hot finishes.
"The screenings levels of Sunchaser have consistently been 2 percent lower than Suntop, from low to high screenings risk situations," Mr Lush said.
He said the lower level of screenings could help growers maximise their income.
"Elevated screenings can contribute to downgrades at point of sale, so this feature in Sunchaser has the potential to improve grower's profitability compared to varieties such as Suntop, amongst others.
"Trial data also shows that Sunchaser displays a yield improvement over Suntop, while performing competitively with Reliant."
AGT wheat breeder Meiqin Lu, based at the University of Sydney's Plant Breeding Institute at Narrabri, says that one of her main breeding objectives was to improve Suntop's grain size and disease resistance while retaining its very wide adaptation, yield and agronomic suitability.
"We believe that we have achieved this goal with Sunchaser," she said.
Dr Lu said Sunchaser was ideally suited to deep planting.
"Another key attribute of Sunchaser is its coleoptile length.
"Three years of testing has shown that Sunchaser has a longer coleoptile than Suntop, Spitfire and Reliant.
"In a region where moisture seeking planting is a regular occurrence, the longer coleoptile of Sunchaser should be valued by growers.
"We are also pleased to report that Sunchaser offers an improved disease resistance package in comparison to Suntop, with greater resistance to stem rust, leaf rust, yellow leaf spot and crown rot.
"Sunchaser is suited to the main season planting window and matures slightly quicker than Suntop and Reliant, and a little slower than Spitfire
Sunchaser has an APH quality classification for NSW and Queensland.
Commercial seed will be available for the 2020 season.