A SIGNIFICANT investment by the University of Adelaide will ensure South Australia continues to provide cutting-edge barley varieties.
The university will invest more than $10 million in its barley breeding program in the next five years.
Since the launch of the hugely successful barley Clipper in 1968, University of Adelaide-bred varieties have accounted for more than 50 per cent of national barley production.
Barley breeding targets have been those with major production and market potential, including notable feed varieties Galleon, Barque, Maritime, Fleet and Fathom, and leading malting varieties Schooner, Sloop, SloopSA, Flagship, Commander and this year's new commercial variety Navigator.
Hull-less varieties for use in food manufacturing and specialist animal feed applications include Torrens, Macumba, and Finniss.
Barley program leader and associate Prof Jason Eglinton said the investment was important news for the grains sector.
"It's a big commitment from the University of Adelaide and it reaffirms its commitment to plant breeding as being very much its core business," he said.
Prof Eglinton said that while issues such as disease resistance were important to the breeding program, increasing the stability of yields and grain quality were paramount.
"At the end of the day we export 80 per cent of the crop overseas," he said.
"We certainly don't want, as an industry, to be competing on price. We need to be producing a product that the global industry wants as a first preference.
"We work extensively on quality and end-use requirements and we do that in collaboration with the major brewers around the world."
* Full report in Stock Journal, August 22 issue, 2013.