Wheat

Wheat production accounts for 70% of total cereal production in Western Australia with about seven million tonnes generated annually in a rain-fed system across four million hectares of land.

About 80% of WA wheat is exported - predominantly to Asia and the Middle East - generating $2 billion in annual export earnings for the state.

Yields of WA-bred premium wheat varieties have risen by 1% per year during the past 30 years, a rate higher than world average.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has a strong research, development and extension focus on wheat production through its long history in wheat breeding (now privatised through Intergrain) and the development of wheat variety management packages for the state’s grain production zones.

Articles

  • In September 2017, six department research officers presented at the biennial Australian Agronomy Conference in Ballarat, Victoria.

  • Western Australian agriculture experiences variability in its winter growing season (May–October): late starts, early finishes and 'dry seasons' with rainfall low enough to cause serious crop stres

  • Climate change is putting pressure on wheat yields in south-west Western Australia (WA) in several ways: lower annual and autumn and spring rainfall; later starts to the growing season; and higher

  • The potential yield tool uses seasonal rainfall and decile finishes, calculated from historical data, to calculate the maximum wheat yield possible in the absence of any other constraints.

  • Plant available soil water graphs show the amount of soil water accumulated from the start of summer (1 November) through the grain growing season and can be used as a tool in the seasonal decision

  • Through targeted grains research and development (R&D), the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development's (DPIRD) Boosting Grains Research and Development project aims to increase

  • Image 1: Frost damage at booting vs healthy head

    All winter grains susceptible to frost. Wheat is more susceptible then barley at flowering, but it is not known if barley and wheat have different frost susceptibilities during grain fill.

  • Spreading clay on light, sandy soils helps to increase soil water holding capacity, retain nutrients and overcome water repellence.

  • Flower Power is an online tool to predict wheat flowering times of up to three different varieties at the same time and the risk of frost or heat stress in your location.

  • Wheat is highly susceptible to frost damage between ear emergence and flowering – often termed reproductive frost.