New triticale handles the dry

New triticale variety Razoo handles the dry


A new triticale variety, boasting drought tolerance and reduced awning, will be available for sowing in 2022.


A new triticale variety, boasting drought tolerance and reduced awning, will be available for sowing in 2022.

Razoo has been developed by Kath Cooper and partner Mike Elleway, who have both worked in the breeding space of the durum wheat and cereal rye hybrid for decades.

Dr Cooper started breeding triticale varieties in 1982, through a research fellowship at the University of Adelaide's Waite Campus, while Mr Elleway is a former Eyre Peninsula farmer, who had been a research assistant at the time of the National Triticale Improvement Program's termination in 2004.

This prompted the couple to buy their own 515-hectare farm at Sherlock to continue the breeding work they were so passionate about.

Triticale can produce reasonable returns in dry seasons. - Dr KATH COOPER

"Triticale can produce reasonable returns in dry seasons. Its drought tolerance is a well-needed trait in marginal areas, while graziers like triticale for its groundcover and help preventing erosion," Dr Cooper said.

"We also cook with triticale wholemeal, so we aim to breed good grains for milling and baking."

Razoo, which started its breeding journey in 2008, is a medium height variety that tillers well and has grains that are "rounder and denser" than most triticale varieties.

"It also has minimal tip awning, making it good for forage conservation," Dr Cooper said.

Last year, pre-release test crops were grown at Sherlock and at Carpa on the EP.

The Sherlock harvest started in early December, alongside their other more established triticale varieties Joey (from the same family line as Razoo) and high rainfall-suited variety Tuckerbox.

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Dr Cooper said the highest yielding varieties came from the early-sown paddocks, reaching just over 1t/ha.

"Unfortunately Razoo was sown a bit later so it yielded slightly less, but still grew remarkably even, with great biomass and good-looking grain," she said.

"I find that impressive in a year of very low growing season rainfall (187.5 millimetres). It wasn't a tall crop, but a lot less stressful to harvest than the very short-statured wheat on the limestone rocky ground."

Dr Cooper, a David Roget Mallee Sustainable Farming Excellence Award recipient, said they had grown pulses at Sherlock with minimal success, except for vetch.

"We didn't get grain back in harsh, dry seasons, but with triticale, you always get something back," she said.

"It doesn't have nitrogen-fixing abilities, but trials have shown if you produce a lot of straw and root matter, soil bugs fix nitrogen when they feed on it.

"Triticale is also cheaper to grow than pulse crops."

At the Carpa farm, Razoo has yet to be harvested, but thick biomass was achieved in the hay cut from the paddock edges after less than 200mm GSR.

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Delicious and nutritious grain

TRITICALE is not just a strong performer in the paddock, but is also delicious and nutritious, according to breeder Kath Cooper.

"When I started researching the crop back in 1982, I was also cooking cakes, pastries and bread with it," she said.

Dr Cooper even authored The Australian Triticale Cookery Book in 1985.

"Unfortunately triticale wholemeal is not widely available anymore, so we had to buy our own mill," she said.

She says triticale is low in gluten and high in fibre, while their new Razoo variety has good milling and baking properties.

Dr Cooper and Mike Elleway have also developed non-PBR triticale varieties Tuckerbox (available from Yankalilla Seeds), Yowie, Goanna, KM10, Wonambi (available from Naracoorte Seeds) and Joey (available to the public from last year).

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