Breeding wheat

Breeding new varieties of wheat

Wheat is Australia’s foremost crop. In 2012, approximately 13 million hectares of land was planted to wheat in Australia. This produced around 22.8 million tonnes of wheat with an average yield of 1.8 tonnes/hectare. These figures vary from season to season and are largely dependent on rainfall conditions in the winter cropping areas of southern Australia.
Australia is the fourth largest exporter of wheat in the world, exporting around 80% of its annual crop, despite being responsible for only around 3% of the world’s total wheat production each year. The major export markets are in the Asian and Middle East regions and include Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran and Sudan. The total value of these exports was $6.75 billion dollars in the 2012-13 financial year, making wheat our most valuable agricultural export and the eighth most valuable overall.
A range of other winter growing crops are usually grown in rotation with wheat. These include barley, oats, triticale, lupins, chick peas, field peas, faba beans, canola, lentils, safflower and linseed.

wheat grains in a plant

Poor grain development leads to low yield.

what crop laying flat

Wheat plants with long stems are more likely to lodge (fall over). This results in lowered yield and difficulties in harvesting.


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