Dual purpose wheat and barley hay are being investigated to provide exporters with a broader suite of fodder products and to enhance hay yield and quality, and reduce risk for growers. The project will investigate hay yield and quality, and grain yield and protein of dual purpose wheat, barley and oats. Dual purpose cereals are awnless, or reduced awn, varieties suited to human consumption grain and export hay markets.
Wheat and barley have a broad base of genetic material compared to oats and while there hasn't been any deliberate breeding program to develop awnless dual purpose varieties the potential is apparent. Wheat and barley also provide weed control options not suited or registered in oats. Having dual purpose attributes means crops can produce high yields of good quality hay in their own right or be cut if impacted by drought or frost or, alternatively, left for grain if there is a risk of weather damage from imminent rain or hay markets have low capacity for intake.
The project aims to produce hay quality at least as good as Mulgara oats and to investigate if hay quality is maintained at higher yield when compared to oats hay. The project will provide feedback to breeders and pre-breeders on varietal entries and achieving dual purpose status. AgriFutures project PRJ-011946 has identified a large range in yield and quality of wheat varieties for hay. To be successful a trial entry of wheat must achieve at least 85% grain yield of local, adapted varieties, 85% hay yield of local, adapted varieties, minimum APW grain quality and hay quality at least equal to Mulgara oats. Parameters for dual purpose barley hay have not been defined due to insufficient varieties.