The Australian wheat industry is working hard to maintain its wheat quality edge, and is sharpening its focus on end-user demand following the recent AWB International and Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Wheat Breeding and Quality Forum.
With more than 100 key members of the wheat breeding and research community attending, the conference heard direct customer feedback on their requirements from Australian wheat, which help lay the foundation for Australia’s ongoing wheat breeding effort.
In its fourth year, the event has become the major forum of its type for the industry in Australia. Its purpose is to provide wheat breeders with clearer market signals and increased information on demand and consumption trends from international customers.
GRDC Managing Director Peter Reading said Australia’s wheat breeding had to be aligned with customer demand, and this event was a great example of industry collaborating to help drive research.
“This event attracts a good cross section of the wheat breeding, research and growing community, as well as international customers, which makes it invaluable in helping steer the research and breeding effort, Mr Reading said.
“For GRDC we partner with industry to help deliver research outcomes that are targeted, and add value to the grain industry, as this event does,” Mr Reading said.
AWB International General Manager Sarah Scales said aligning the wheat breeding, growing and marketing effort is crucial to remain competitive in the international market.
“A key to Australia’s ongoing competitiveness is our ability to shape the national crop to meet evolving market demand, and this conference really is the crop shaping process in action, Ms Scales said.
“We face an increasingly tough and competitive international market, where our competitors are aiming to replicate our success and target our markets,” Ms Scales said. “Staying ahead of this competition is a key focus for AWBI and is the backbone to the Shaping the Future strategy,” Ms Scales said.
“This year the focus was on noodles. A large proportion of Australian wheat goes into markets where it is used for various forms of noodle production - white salted, yellow alkaline, instant, fresh, dried, steamed or fried. The size and value of these markets makes noodles and noodle quality an important focus of the AWB International marketing program, and the Shaping the Future strategy,” Ms Scales said.
AWBI also arranged for one of its key international customers from Daehan Flour Mill in South Korea, Mr YS Kim to attend the conference. Mr Kim said while Australia’s noodle wheats were of good quality, they are facing increased competition from North American suppliers. Staying ahead of this competition is part of the strategy behind the Wheat Breeding Forum.
Science Leader from the Queensland Department of Primary Industry, David Poulsen, said the event offered a valuable opportunity to get closer to the customer and understand their product requirements.
“The information presented was really useful for the breeding companies to direct their breeding program, and help prioritise and target the investment into their research activities,” Dr Poulsen said.