New durum wheat variety helps industry break new ground

A new durum wheat variety bred at the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Tamworth Agricultural Institute has the potential to expand Australia’s durum wheat industry into new regions.

The new variety, Jandaroi, provides an opportunity for durum wheat to break into areas such as Western Australia and central Queensland.

In areas such as central Queensland, Jandaroi will be the first variety where the yield - and therefore financial return - of durum wheat is comparable with bread wheats.

Marketed by AWB Seeds, this quick maturing variety has all of the beneficial attributes of the previous varieties, which include disease resistance, high yield, and premium quality.

It also has the added advantage of yielding well when rainfall before and during the crop cycle is limited.

More than two-thirds of Australia’s durum wheat is currently grown in NSW; however, production over an extended geographical area should provide a more secure tonnage to lock in long-term international sales contracts.

The DPI breeding team expects the AWB export quality committee to classify Jandaroi as Australian Premium Durum, for which growers will be handsomely rewarded.

World demand for durum is increasing and Australia is well-placed to capture a significant proportion of this growth, particularly the premium sector which is Italian.

Jandaroi is the sixth durum wheat variety bred by Dr Ray Hare at Tamworth under the National durum breeding program, funded by the NSW State Government with support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

Other varieties include Bellaroi (released in 2003), Gundaroi (released in 1999), Tamaroi (released in 1998), Wollaroi (released in 1993) and Yallaroi (released in 1987).

The ‘aroi’ suite of durum varieties bred at Tamworth are regarded by Italian millers and processors as among the best in the world.

The key to good durum quality is strong dough strength, a bright yellow colour in the pasta and high protein content.

It is expected that there will be a big demand for Jandaroi from the domestic and international pasta and couscous makers.

The launch of Jandaroi is an important step in an overall industry strategy to increase production to over one million tonnes over the next ten years.

The Australian durum wheat industry was worth about $200 million to the Australian economy in 2004-05.  Production has seen an 80 fold increase from 8,000 tonnes in 1978 to 650,000 tonnes in 2003-04.