The perennial possibilities of wheat

1 JANUARY 2003

The opportunities in Australia for growing perennial wheat are being investigated by Charles Sturt University (CSU) PhD student Ms Nicole Hyde. As part of a Cooperative Research Centre for Future Farm Industries project, Ms Hyde late last year began to investigate several key questions: Can perennial wheat regrow in following seasons? Can perennial wheat survive our hot, dry summers? How does perennial wheat survive and regrow? “Perennial wheat is being developed in the USA, Russia, China, Argentina and now Australia, by crossing annual bread wheat with various perennial grasses,” said Ms Hyde. “The result should be a perennial grain crop that has the potential to offer significant benefits in Australian farming systems, including improved soil structure, reduced dry land salinity problems, and the provision of feed for grazing during the critical break-of-season period. However perennial wheat has never before been grown in Australia, so we do not yet know if these benefits will actually be delivered.” Ms Hyde hopes to complete her PhD by late 2011.

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