InterGrain launches a new barley variety well suited to Australian conditions

AUSTRALIA— INTERGRAIN has launched a new Clearfield barley variety, Zena CL—a mid-maturity and vigorous plant type that is well suited to medium to high-rainfall environments— in time for planting next year.

InterGrain trials over the past three years, and National Variety trials in 2021, indicate Zena CL yields are similar to those of RGT Planet, a high yielding spring barley well suited to Australian conditions.

“Zena CL is the first Clearfield barley targeted for these environments, enabling more growers to take advantage of this technology for their rotations,” said Grains Innovation Australia (GIA) breeder Michael Materne, who developed the variety with InterGrain.

InterGrain barley breeder David Moody said Zena CL provides growers in medium to high-rainfall districts with a high-yielding option for use within the Imidazolinone (IMI) barley rotation.

Herbicide-tolerant crops offer a favorable alternative to the traditional approach of identifying and developing new crop herbicides. The imidazolinones are very effective in controlling cruciferous weeds. As such, imidazolinone-tolerant barley offers the potential for significantly better weed control than is provided by some barley herbicides.

“Grower interest has been strong due to interest in an IMI tolerant variety with similar agronomic attributes to RGT Planet,” Mr Moody said.

“As well as similar yield potential to RGT Planet, Zena CL has good levels of resistance to powdery mildew and leaf rust.

Zena CL is the first Clearfield barley targeted for medium and high-rainfall environments, enabling more growers to take advantage of this technology for their rotations

Michael Materne, Grains Innovation Australia (GIA) breeder Tweet

Zena CL possesses the Clearfield herbicide-tolerance trait developed by Agriculture Victoria Services, which is currently exclusively licensed to InterGrain. The presence of the trait provides Zena CL with tolerance to registered label rates of APVMA-approved IMI herbicides, offering growers the ability to control brome and barley grass within the barley rotation.

The Clearfield trait provides increased rotational flexibility when other IMI tolerant crops have been grown the previous year and where there are concerns about soil residues.

Zena CL also provides the opportunity for effective control of conventional self-sown cereals within barley crops using APVMA registered imidazolinone chemistry.

Zena CL was bred and developed collaboratively by GIA, a private breeding company developing varieties, and InterGrain, through a barley-breeding partnership.

InterGrain is 62-per-cent owned by the Western Australian Government, with the Grains Research and Development Corporation holding the balance.

Zena CL is available for planting in 2023 from InterGrain Seedclub Members and resellers. It has also been submitted to Australia’s malt accreditation program with earliest potential final accreditation by March 2024.

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