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Project name National barley foliar pathogen variety improvement program
Funding bodies Grains Research & Development Corporation
Chief Investigators Professor Meixue Zhou
Contributors Administered by Qld Dept of Agriculture and Fisheries

Leaf diseases of barley in Australia and their control by fungicides are estimated to cost the industry more than $35 million annually. As barley is a relatively low-return crop, the most economical means of controlling these diseases is through genetic resistance which can deliver low-cost, environmentally-friendly protection for the life of the crop.

Resistances to these airborne fungal or viral diseases already exist in cultivated barleys. Some are effective while others have been defeated by the diseases and are no longer useful.

In a quest to stay ahead of the diseases, the project will look for new resistances. These may be found in cultivated barleys from overseas, in primitive land races or even in alternative species of the barley genus. Ultimately, resistances will be crossed into adapted varieties to provide breeders with sources of resistance that are useful to them.

Read more about the project on the GRDC website.