New InterGrain barley variety to boost Australian grain production

Image credit: Minister Jackie Jarvis' Facebook

The Australian Agriculture and Food Minister Jackie Jarvis today unveiled a new barley variety that is being hailed as ‘the one’ to advance barley production in Australia and potentially increase the value of the national industry by $110 million annually.

The high-performance variety named Neo, the Greek word for new, is claimed to be well suited to medium to high rainfall environments boasting strong pest and disease resistance and superior grain quality characteristics.

Neo, which was recently submitted for malting barley accreditation, was created by locally based breeding company InterGrain, co-owned by the Western Australian Government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

The naturally bred variety is a product of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Cereal Doubled Haploid Program, accelerating the development of breeding lines tailored to Australian conditions.

“Neo barley reflects its name – a modern variety, ahead of its time and bred using the latest plant breeding technology to generate a leap in production and malting performance,” said Minister Jarvis.

He underscored that this new variety will help Australia maintain its position as a leader in the world when it comes to supplying premium barley to discerning domestic and foreign markets.

“Our Government is pleased to be partnering with InterGrain and AEGIC to back research and development that supports WA growers and the broader industry to remain internationally competitive now and into the future,” the minister noted. 

To date, Neo is the 12th barley variety that InterGrain has introduced, joining a lineup of cereal options that also includes a selection of Australian hard and noodle wheat lines and oats.

InterGrain is expanding to a cutting-edge plant breeding facility at Murdoch University’s biosecurity and research centre, a new facility in Horsham, Victoria. It is also constructing a seed production facility in Narrabri, New South Wales.

To guarantee that new varieties meet market standards, the company works closely with the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC), which is co-owned by the WA Government and Grains Australia.