New research at the University of Adelaide has opened the way for the development of new lines of barley with resistance to powdery mildew.
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July 28, 2014 - New research at the University of Adelaide has opened the way for the development of new lines of barley with resistance to powdery mildew. In Australia, annual barley production is second only to wheat with seven to eight million tonnes a year. Powdery mildew is one of the most important diseases of barley. Senior Research Scientist Dr. Alan Little and team have discovered the composition of special growths on the cell walls of barley plants that block the penetration of the fungus into the leaf. The research, by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls in the University's School of Agriculture, Food and Wine in collaboration with the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Germany, will be presented at this week's 5th International Conference on Plant Cell Wall Biology and published in the journal New Phytologist. "Powdery mildew is a significant problem wherever barley is grown around the world," says Little. "Growers with infected crops can expect up to 25 per cent reductions in yield, and the barley may also be downgraded from high quality malting barley to that of feed quality, with an associated loss in market value. "In recent times we've seen resistance in powdery mildew to the class of fungicide most commonly used to control the disease in Australia. Developing barley with improved resistance to the disease is therefore even more important." The discovery means researchers have new targets for breeding powdery mildew resistant barley lines. "Powdery mildew feeds on the living plant," says Little. "The fungus spore lands on the leaf and sends out a tube-like structure which punches its way through cell walls, penetrating the cells and taking the nutrients from the plant. The plant tries to stop this penetration by building a plug of cell wall material - a papillae - around the infection site. Effective papillae can block the penetration by the fungus. "It has long been thought that callose is the main polysaccharide component of papilla. But using new techniques, we've been able to show that in the papillae that block fungal penetration, two other polysaccharides are present in significant concentrations and play a key role. "It appears that callose acts like an initial plug in the wall but arabinoxylan and cellulose fill the gaps in the wall and make it much stronger." In his PhD project, Jamil Chowdhury showed that effective papillae contained up to four times the concentration of callose, arabinoxylan and cellulose as cell wall plugs which didn't block penetration. "We can now use this knowledge find ways of increasing these polysaccharides in barley plants to produce more resistant lines available for growers," says Little.
July 22, 2014, Winnipeg, MB - Grain auger and accessories manufacturer Westfield has released the new GULP Drive Over Hopper with an ultra-low profile, allowing for efficient and quick truck unloading for on-farm applications. The GULP is an ultra-low profile drive over hopper that transports with a 13-inch Westfield swing auger. According to a company news release, it removes the need to re-attach or re-position multiple pieces of equipment when unloading trucks and trailers. The drive over unit hydraulically lowers and swings into position while the one-touch ramp deployment provides easy setup in minutes. Compatible with almost all trucks, this drive over hopper is only 4.5 inches high and features a large catchment area and revolutionary chevron belt to auger transition. The GULP was officially debuted at Canada's Farm Progress Show this past June, earning the Innovations Award which recognizes achievement in innovative agriculture products and services.