A NEW durum variety is set for release this year, the first from the Southern Australia Durum Growers Association since Aurora was put out in 2014.
With its high yield potential and good quality characteristics, Aurora has gone on to become the major durum variety grown in SA.
Durum breeder Jason Able, who was a guest speaker at the SADGA pre-seeding forum held at Tarlee last week, said the new variety UAD1154192 also had good yield potential and was similar for screenings to Aurora.
“Aurora was released four years ago, so we thought it was important to have something else out there as a back-up,” he said. “UAD1154192 has tested well for quality and is slightly better for stem rust than Aurora.”
Dr Able said there could be four new durum varieties released in the next four years.
Durum could provide an attractive option for croppers this coming season, with the outlook for most grain prices relatively flat.
Outlooks for wheat, barley and pulses were given by a range of speakers at the SADGA pre-seeding forum.
Australian Growers Direct trader Tom Lucas said pulse returns were depressed, especially on the back of the Indian Government's recent decision to lift the tariff on imported chickpeas to 60 per cent.
“Pulse prices are likely to remain relatively subdued for the remainder of 2018,” he said.
Glencore trader Tom Smibert said durum prices were likely to be fairly stable this coming year.
“While there’s been a small drawing down of stocks, they still remain high,” he said.
“We’re in a pretty comfortable supply and demand situation, so I’m not expecting a lot of volatility.”
Mr Smibert said durum was bringing in the region of $320 a tonne, compared to about $260/t for bread wheat and he expected this kind of spread to continue.
“There’s good inelastic demand for durum,” he said.
“While Australia is not a big exporter, it is known for its quality characteristics.”
Mr Smibert expected an increase in the area sown to durum in SA and NSW this year as growers look for the highest value crops.
“In NSW, I expect we’ll see some of the area usually sown to chickpeas going to durum this year,” he said.
Archer Daniels Midland trading manager Andrew Mead said there were question marks on Argentinian corn and soy beans crops, so buyers may look to other feed grains, which could help keep barley prices buoyant.