Report prepared by Dr Julie M Nicol (CAIGE Coordinator and Prof Richard Trethowan (CAIGE Leader, Wheat)
During the busy 8 day visit we managed to visit all 13 CAIGE trials (6 Bread Wheat and 7 Durum Wheat) with the exception of one Bread Wheat trial in Kapunda. We sincerly express our thanks to all collaborators who were able to join different aspects of the tour and work around their busy time schedules. I believe all present benefited greatly from their interaction with the group at each site.
The Wheat CAIGE tour started early on Sunday morning with a flight from Sydney to Tamworth. Prof Richard Trethowan (CAIGE Head Wheat), Dr Julie Nicol (CAIGE Coordinator) and the two CIMMYT International Wheat Scientists, Dr Karim Ammar (Head, CIMMYT Durum Wheat program) and Dr Leonardo Crespo Herrera (CIMMYT Bread Wheat Breeder working with Ravi Singh) started the tour visiting Dr Gururaj Kadkols Durum CAIGE Yield Trial at Tamworth which was not inoculated with Crown Rot this year and looking very well. The group then drove to Narrabri PBI where we visited by the Bread and Durum wheat CAIGE trials with Tom Kapcejevs (Durum Breeder from AGT) joining this visit. Materials in Narrabri were looking highly favourable and yet to be suffering from drought. We also had a quick look at PBIs bird cage multiplication of the CAIGE materials which was looking very good and bird free!.
The Monday morning the Richard, Julie, Karim and Leo set of from Narrabri to North Star to visit the CAIGE Bread and Durum Wheat Trials on Malcolm Doolins property planted by AGT. We were fortuante to have Malcolm and AGTs bread and durum wheat breeders Mequin Liu and Tom Kapcejevs join the visit. The site was looking good considered it had suffered a very hot spring and was ready to harvest well ahead of schedule, although the rain had another plan. The next day we drove from Dubbo to Junee to visit the LRPB CAIGE Bread trial with Adrian McNair which had experienced both drought and frost. This was followed with another drive to AGTs Durum CAIGE trial at Lockhart which we visited with AGTs Jim Fairall which similarly had been affected by both drought and frost and I was delighted to find Crown Rot!. This was followed by another bit of driving onto Wagga and staying overnight.
On Wednesday morning we rose early for the flight from Wagga to Melbourne (with very lapsed security controls) and then a little car journey to Horsham Bayer Crop Science. We were treated to a lovely lunch and tour of the Bayer facilities and we managed to have an enlarged team visiting this site including Mark Dieters, Sally Norton (AGG), Brett Lobsey (Ag NSW), Grant Holloway (AgVic), Sandra Micallef (CAIGE Database) and several scientific staff from Maqbools Bayer Crop Science Cereal Improvment Group. The combined group visited the CAIGE Bread Wheat Trial managed by Nicholas Koycans and his team which was looking highly favorable. The group then moved onto AgVic Horsham to visits Grants Field Cereal Rust Pathology program, including the CAIGE materials with Melissa Cook who is working with AgVic and conducting her PhD on Tan Spot.
The next morning was a very early start to hookup with ICARDA colleagues and Dr Ken Street (ICARDA Consultant) for the CAIGE steering committe meeting over a working breakfast. Many thanks to Sally for providing the venue and organising the food!. This was followed with a CAIGE Working Group discussion, being joined Francis Ogbonnaya from GRDC. Following this we drove to Kaniva to meet up with Jason Able (University of Adelaide) to visit the CAIGE Durum Trial which was looking very good but starting the feel the heat and lack of moisture. We then drove on crossing the border into South Australia arriving late in the evening.
The Friday morning was spent University of Adelaide Roseworthy Agricultural Campus visiting CAIGE DW planted by Jason Able and then onto a visit of the AGT breeding facility with AGTs Adam Norman followed by the AGT CAIGE Bread Wheat Trial. Paul Fox and his wife Pilah as well as SARDI Plant Physiologist Mariano Cossani also joined the day. Both CAIGE trials at Roseworthy looked very good for the season. Saturday morning was a visit to Balaklava to the Bread Wheat CAIGE trial along with LRPB Colin Edmonson. We also had the pleasure of Andy Barr joining us. Thanks to the soil profile Colin dug we also learnt much about the local hostile soils in the region – thanks Colin! The trial was looking well but starting to struggle for moisture.
Saturday afternoon was spent at the airport heading from Adelaide to Perth and here we farwelled Karim to return to Mexico as only the BW CAIGE was planted in the West. Sunday was a chance to sleep in and we had a relaxing tour courtesy of Ian Edwards. The Monday morning was a visit to the final BW CAIGE trial at Tooday with Ian Edwards from EdStar Genetics. We also had Ians Research Associate Nazim ud Dowla join along with retired AgWest Breeder David Bowran and also a young PhD student from the Unviversity of Western Australia Brendon Leske. The trial was looking very good but also struggling with moisture. The final leg of the tour was visiting some trials of Richard at Cadeoux which included many CIMMYT lines for heat and drought stress.
Phenotypic scores were noted by the CAIGE group and these will also be added along with the CAIGE yield information which will be circulated to collabortors when available on the CAIGE website in the near future. All in all and excellent tour full of wheat plants, good discussion and cheer. Again many thanks to all of those involved.