More new cotton varieties in the pipeline

16 June, 2004

___Success of the CSIRO cotton breeding program has been highlighted during the annual CSD Information Tour covering six cotton growing regions in Queensland and nine regions in NSW._

Dr Warwick Stiller, a breeder with the CSIRO cotton breeding team at Narrabri headed by Dr Greg Constable, said the focus of the breeding team is on disease and insect resistance, fibre quality, regional adaptation, yield, and the quest for new discoveries in all these areas.

He said CSIRO Plant Industry had a large team working on these objectives at Narrabri, with an increasing number also in Canberra focussing on biotechnology issues.

As a measure of the success of the breeding program, CSIRO and CSD have recently released 11 new Bollgard® II, two new Roundup Ready® and three new conventional varieties. Dr Stiller said several new Roundup Ready varieties are also scheduled for release in 2005.

As further evidence of the CSIRO breeding team’s success, Dr Stiller noted that yields are continuing to improve, quoting the recent outstanding performance of the conventional variety, Sicot 71, in all growing regions, and the general improvement in fibre quality – length, strength and micronaire.

He said some new breeding lines have exceptional fibre quality parameters, particularly in relation to length and strength, with one experimental line having strength of up to 35g/tex.

He warned, however, that there is a negative correlation between selecting for fibre quality parameters and yield, hence it could be some years before these varieties become commercially attractive.

He described fusarium resistance as one of the breeding team’s major achievements in recent years.

“Eight years ago, the mean F. Rank of available CSIRO/CSD varieties was around 60, whereas this year it is closer to 120,” he said, noting that two-thirds of CSIRO/CSD varieties now had an F. Rank greater than 100.

Further Information: *"Robert Eveleigh**, John Marshall, Craig McDonald or David Kelly":showstaff.asp?staff=1