Australia: Elders invests in growing seed genetics division
09 November 2021, Australia: Elders is investing in the expansion of its growing seed genetics business, EPG Seeds.
EPG Seeds will distribute the company’s expanding range of wheat, barley, oats and forage sorghum varieties including its latest releases, EG Titanium and LG-Gold wheat and LG Alestar barley.
Elders CEO and Managing Director Mark Allison says the company has been involved in plant breeding and introducing crop genetics to Australian farmers for decades.
“These added investments will take these operations to a new level and expand the distribution of innovative grain and forage varieties to new customers, with the backing of Elders,” Mr Allison said.
EPG Seeds is investing in new distribution channels so its products will be more readily available beyond the Elders branch network, through rural supplies wholesaler, AIRR and all national reseller networks.
Chris Willis, Elders Category Manager, said a new website and brand identity and more people for EPG Seeds will give growers better access to the very best in seed genetics bred in Australia and overseas.
EPG Seeds has an impressive range of current and new varieties in the pipeline.
“Our latest wheat variety for the south, EG Titanium, is a full season, robust, high yielding Australian Hard (AH) variety which provides a good planting option to spread seasonal risk. Best suited to medium to high rainfall zones, it performs well in Tasmania, southern Victoria and the higher rainfall regions of South Australia,” Mr Willis said.
“Growers in northern NSW and the Darling Downs should consider LG-Gold wheat in their 2022 cropping program, another high performing AH quality wheat variety that is well suited to late planting and has superior yield maturity, an excellent disease profile, consistently high protein and very low screenings all in one package.”
Mr Willis said the newly malt accredited LG Alestar barley consistently produces high quality malt, so it is sought after by local maltsters and brewers and attracting interest from Japanese beverage makers.
“Two large Australian maltsters are contracting LG Alestar crops for 2022, while several buyers are setting up segregations in South Australia, southern NSW and Victoria,” he said.
“There is also growing demand for LG Alestar malt from Coopers Brewery Ltd based in South Australia and the domestic brewing industry across the country.
“This variety demonstrates the value of identifying market traits and developing varieties to suit the needs of end users.”
In the latest developments, Mr Willis said EPG Seeds is conducting advanced trials with wheat lines showing resistance to Russian wheat aphid and crown rot, as well as collaborating in a high protein gene breeding program.
“We are also looking into an awnless winter wheat from the United Kingdom crossed with an Australian spring wheat which is showing good yield potential and dry tolerance,” he said.
“While we are still monitoring its performance and it has yet to be classified for quality, this line is showing promise as a graze and grain type for southern Australia.
“Developments like these will build on the success of current releases from Elders such as Banker and Lantern forage sorghum and Graza 85, Graza 53 and Boss forage oats.”
Mr Willis added EPG Seeds varieties will continue to benefit from the experience and insights of Elders agronomists and technical services team members in assessing and selecting varieties for release.
The most promising performers will continue to be showcased each year at Elders technology and demonstration sites around the country, allowing growers and agronomists to assess them first-hand before release.