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Breeding higher yielding lupins, rapeseed, high lysine barley and phalaris for south eastern Australia

R.N. Oram

CSIRO Division of Plant Industry. P.O. Box 1600, Canberra City, A.C.T. 2601.

During the agricultural crisis of the early 70's alternative crops were needed; in southern Australia, the greatest need was for novel cereals, oilseeds and grain legumes suited to cereal areas and to arable parts of the adjacent higher rainfall areas. It was unlikely that fully adapted cultivars could be introduced from overseas. Therefore breeding programmes were initiated in various alternative crops in 1971, and continued in phalaris. Investigations showed that yield increase was the first or second most important objective.

TABLE I. Yields of existing cultivars and bred lines (kg ha-1).

Table I shows that some yield increase has been achieved in narrow-leafed lupins (30% seed protein) and white lupins (38% protein), the best F5-F7 families coming from Uniharvest x 43278 and 16574 x Kiev Mutant, respectively. Brown leaf spot (Pleiohaeta setosa) is becoming a major limitation, so resistance genes are being sought in wild and mutagen-treated populations. The double-zero rapeseed line, Brongoro, selected by Dr. J.T.O. Kirk from Bronowski x (Rangi x Oro) consistently outyields the best available Canadian double-zero, Tower. and is more blackleg tolerant. Additional resistance is being incorporated. Further yield increase is necessary in high lysine barley over that in the best selection from mutant 1508 x Clipper. Lines of all species are already, or will be, entered in interstate yield trials. Sirolan phalaris, released in 1978, produces 25% more herbage than Seedmaster in Canberra, and is more drought tolerant and much lower in tryptamines. These results demonstrate that a continued or increased investment in plant breeding is justified.

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