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Appointment of Allan Rattey as Principal Wheat Breeder to HRZ Wheats

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article image Allan Rattey

HRZ Wheats has recently appointed Allan Rattey to the role of Principal Wheat Breeder, his experience in sugar cane and wheat plant breeding as well as a PhD in quantitative genetics will bring a wealth of knowledge and leadership to this role. 

Allan aims to “drive breeding that targets improved yields, milling grade and resistance to assist growers in Australia’s high rainfall zones increasing their profitability.”

There are over 4 million hectares of land currently occupied by crops in Australia that are located in greater than 500mm high rainfall zones. Growers face issues such as low yield potential crops, insufficient disease resistance and poor spouting and milling grades, these issues affect the profitability of the crops. 

A new solution to these problems will be implemented using a modern plant breeding program. “In the short term, the commercialisation of HRZ’s new variety, Forrest, has changed the playing field. Forrest is a high yielding, milling grade variety with good disease resistance and is the only wheat variety offering wheat streak mosaic resistance. Further, there are additional exciting varieties in the pipeline to commercialise in the next few years,” said Allan Rattey. 

The first priority will be investigating current performance and future opportunities of Forrest in high rainfall zones. “Early results from a large scale Victorian growers’ field have found yields of up to 8.5 tonnes per hectare for Forrest, which were approximately 0.5 tonnes per hectare more than another variety planted in the same fields. We are still waiting for the yield data to come in from other areas, but to date, things are looking promising,” according to Allan Rattey. 

In terms of long term goals Allan plans to drive overall breeding efforts to increase financial returns further than just Forrest and other commercial ranges.  

The benefits for growers in high rainfall zones include long-term profitability and sustainability and have added environmental advantages.

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