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  • Condensed by Lynda Kiernan-Stone

New Wheat Variety Could Boost WA Wheat Sector

Tungsten, a new wheat variety developed by scientists at the Agricultural Biotechnology Center at Murdoch University in partnership with wheat and barley breeding company Edstar Genetics, may be a boon for Western Australia’s wheat growers when it is released next year.

Western Australia is challenged by poor soil quality, but with the help of optimum tillage practices and the use of nitrogen fertilizers, growers in the region have managed to produce approximately half of Australia’s yearly wheat crop. However, achieving acceptable yields with these production practices leads to increased input costs.

In response, researchers have identified a gene that maximizes nitrogen uptake, enabling the protein content of Tungsten to be more than 14 percent higher than other wheat varieties while also providing high yields from sandy soil- a development that could help growers in Western Australia be more competitive.

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