Boost for high rainfall zone wheat research

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Research into developing more productive wheat varieties in Australia has been given a major boost following an equity investment in HRZ Wheats Pty Ltd by one of the nation's leading agricultural disease and pest control companies, Dow AgroSciences Australia Ltd.

Established in 2003 specifically to develop hardy, high-rainfall-zone (HRZ) wheat varieties, HRZ Wheats’ other equity partners are: CSIRO, New Zealand’s Plant & Food Research, Landmark Operations Limited and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

“The Dow AgroSciences investment ensures that HRZ Wheats will continue to provide Australian growers with high yielding, milling quality, disease resistant wheat varieties to meet the challenges of the high rainfall zone,” said CSIRO Plant Industry Chief, Dr Jeremy Burdon, who is a Director on the HRZ Wheats Board.

“Cutting-edge breeding technologies and novel germplasm – now available to HRZ Wheats as part of Dow’s investment – will benefit the Australian breeding industry.”

According to Dow AgroSciences’ Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Peter Dryden, his company’s research expertise will ensure that HRZ Wheats – the youngest of Australia’s four main breeding companies – will remain competitive into the future.

“At Dow AgroSciences we see wheat as an important global crop so we’re excited to be able to work with the HRZ breeding team and contribute the knowledge and tools that we’ve developed in working with crops like corn, cotton, canola, soybeans and sunflowers,” Mr Dryden said.

Dr Burdon said the investment would benefit breeders and growers worldwide. Also, Landmark, through Seednet and its partners, will be responsible for seed production and commercialisation of new varieties produced by HRZ Wheats in Australia.

At the local level, it means that Australian growers can look forward to seeing improved varieties coming out of the HRZ Wheats breeding programs in the near future.

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