AWB has established a new varietal classification region specifically for central New South Wales, and in response to the adverse seasonal conditions, has extended the APH status of the Strzelecki wheat variety for that region.
AWB senior wheat quality specialist Bob Cracknell said the decision to establish the new zone was taken to accommodate revised logistical arrangements, and to better reflect the environmental differentiation within the state, which ultimately impacts wheat quality.
As part of the change, some varieties were set for reclassification at the silos affected by the shift in boundary. The popular Strzelecki variety was due to be reclassified as AH, as it is in the southern NSW zone, for the 2003/04 harvest.
However, with the dry conditions and potential seed shortages, AWB has announced that growers in the new central zone will be able to continue delivering Strzelecki as APH for this harvest, and 2003/04, after which it will then be reclassified as AH, as originally planned.
"While the original decision was based on sound technical and logistical grounds, AWB certainly did not wish to penalise growers affected by adverse seasonal conditions, and has sought an alternative approach," Mr Cracknell said.
"The NSW State Technical Committee has endorsed the AWB proposal to introduce a third "central" zone to provide a buffer zone between the traditional north and south silo groups.
"The creation of this new zone will allow more flexibility for growers and AWB when it comes to classifying wheat varieties, and in the future we anticipate that variety classifications in the central zone will generally be the higher of that either to the North or the South."
For 2003/04 the "central zone" will include the region between the new and old silo group boundaries, but a working group comprising NSW Agriculture, NSW Farmers, and AWB has been established to determine the feasibility of expanding it further.
Twenty sites have been affected by this decision; Albert, Alectown, Bogan Gate, Condobolin, Euabolong West, Gobondery, Gunningbland, Kadungle, Kiacatoo, Mickibri, Ootha, Parkes, Tomingley, Tottenham, Trundle, Tullamore, Wyanga, Yarrabandi, Yeoval and Yethera.
In the case of the Sunbrook wheat variety, AWB will continue to receive it as APH in the central zone, which will provide at least one ongoing early-sowing APH option pending the release of a superior performing variety.