Is Vrn-H1 a missed opportunity for southern Australian barley growers?

Kenton Porker1, Stewart Coventry1, Ben Trevaskis2, Neil Fettell3

1 School of Agriculture Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide Glen Osmond SA

2CSIRO Agriculture, GPO Box 1600 Canberra ACT 2601,

3Central West Farming Systems and University of New England, PO Box 171 Condobolin NSW 2877.


Over the last decade there has been a trend to earlier sowing of cereals. Growers are seeking varieties that develop slower to match needs of minimising reproductive frost risk, avoid high grain-filling temperatures and terminal water stress.  Historically barley breeders focused on developing cultivars with a short mean duration to flowering through direct and indirect selection of photoperiod sensitivity (Ppd) alleles and insensitive vernalisation (Vrn) alleles. This paper discusses the concept that the lack of winter Vrn-H1 alleles in Australian cultivars may be a missed opportunity for southern Australian barley growers and presents the history of winter barleys in Australia, and the merits of re-introducing winter Vrn alleles into breeding programs.  Based on preliminary data it is possible to achieve a similar flowering date, and competitive yields with different combinations of phenology genes including winter Vrn alleles from earlier sowing.



The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

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David Marland Photography Southern Farming Systems Agriculture Victoria

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