Wheat genetics for trait improvement

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Western Australian growers need to manage risk associated with grain production. Yield penalties are becoming common due to drought, frost and disease incidences in WA. Wheat varieties with superior genetics and traits underpin a crop management strategy to overcome these environmental constraints. DAFWA will deliver new genetic products, services and practices to breeding companies for developing new wheat varieties that aim to overcome these constraints and maximise future grain productivity and profitability for the WA grower.


Western Australian wheat growers need to manage risk associated with consistent grain production if they are to remain competitive and sustainable in the global wheat industry. Increasing environmental constraints including extreme temperature differences, drought at critical times, and diseases in production environments, however, continue to threaten high wheat yields. Growing new commercial wheat varieties adapted to environmental constraints together with appropriate on-farm practices, therefore, offers risk management strategies for reliable grain supply.

Australian wheat breeding companies rely on accessing the latest technologies and innovations from research providers that will enable them to develop commercial cultivars with traits that are able to overcome the environmental effects of extreme temperature differences, drought, and increasing disease pressure. The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) has a distinct role in providing support to commercial wheat breeding companies that will assist them in developing new wheat cultivars capable of overcoming environmental constraints.

Project need

This project brings together expertise at DAFWA and national collaborating organisations in wheat genetics, biotechnology, pathology and physiology to deliver innovative solutions to commercial wheat breeding companies that will, in turn, produce new wheat cultivars with enhanced traits to overcome challenging environmental constraints and increase productivity, profitability and sustainability to the Western Australian wheat grower.

Project aims

The aims of the project are:

  • To evaluate and identify wheat germplasm with increased tolerance to drought, frost and ability to germinate in seedbeds under water deficit.
  • To improve resistance against wheat foliar diseases including yellow spot, leaf and glume blotch.
  • To develop capabilities and/or services for development and evaluation of wheat with enhanced trait performance relevant to WA production environments.
  • To develop effective delivery strategies for uptake and utilisation of products, services and practices by project stakeholders.

Project deliverables

The project will deliver:

  • New genetic products and evaluation methodologies that will improve biotic and abiotic trait performance in new wheat variety development.
  • Services for developing and evaluating wheat germplasm with improved trait performance.
  • New practices that will accurately evaluate trait performance in the field.

Contact information

Michael Francki
+61 (0)8 9360 7575
Page last updated: Thursday, 18 May 2017 - 3:15pm