Industry research in recent years has looked at how capitalising on opportunistic earlier sowing may increase profitability by delivering higher overall farm yields. Yields of existing spring varieties can significantly decline if planted too early, while risk of frost damage at flowering time may also increase. In contrast, winter wheats may take too long to mature and can suffer in hot dry finishes. Longsword is the first wheat variety that fits into the planting window between the longer season, traditional winter wheats, and the more commonly grown spring varieties.
Tested as RAC2341, Longsword is derived from Mace, a variety that is specifically suited to low and medium rainfall areas in southern and Western Australia and the most successful wheat variety ever released on the Australian market. Longsword has three vernalisation genes, meaning that it is a true winter variety with a stronger ‘cold requirement’ for flowering. However, once this vernalisation requirement is met, Longsword progresses through grain-fill quickly, similar to its parent Mace. This unique maturity offers many advantages to growers, in particular a flexible and wide sowing window, while helping to avoid stresses of early frost damage at flowering, and drought and heat through grain fill. It also allows a longer safe period for grazing, helping to fill the early feed gap often faced by mixed farmers.
“In environments with a distinct dry finish, if flowering occurs outside of the optimum time or grain-fill occurs too slowly, drastic yield reductions can occur,” said Dr James Edwards, Wheat Breeder with AGT. “With its three vernalisation genes, Longswor...
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