Long Coleoptile Wheat on Eyre Peninsula


Research organisatons
Funding source
Agricultural Innovation & Research Eyre Peninsula EPAG Research Trust
South Australian Grains Industry Trust (SAGIT)

Trial details

Researcher(s) Rhaquelle Meiklejohn
Year(s) 2021
Contributor Agricultural Innovation & Research Eyre Peninsula
Trial location(s) Site D, Cootra, SA, SA
Further information View external link
Long Coleoptile Wheat on Eyre Peninsula locations

Improving the reliability of early
establishment  plays  an role in increasing water and yield potential cropping  environ­ 
Establishing plants earlier extends the growing
a crop, and when with optimal phenology, more time for a plant to
develop resources that ultimately contribute to grain fill and yield.

Seeding deeper, into soil moisture present below the 'normal seeding bed' may help to establish 
plants earlier without relying onan autumn break for germination. Currently, wheat growers are 
restricted to a seeding depth of 3-5 cm because modern wheat varieties have a shortened  coleoptile 
associated with dwarfing genes that were introduced  in  the  1960's  to increase yields. The 
length of a coleoptile restricts seeding depth because it is a hollow shoot that protects the first 
leaves as they grow  towards  the soil  surface during  germination.  Breeders have now identified 
an alternate dwarfing gene 'Rht18' that allows a coleoptile up to 12 cm long, whilst maintaining  
the reduced height associated  with modern high yielding wheat varieties.

The trials reported here assessed the performance of long coleoptile wheats  in an Eyre Peninsula 
farming system.

Key messages

Key messages
•  Longer coleoptile wheat  varieties  provide opportunities and flexibility to  successfully  
establish crops in situations where previously not possible.
•  The coleoptile provides protection to the emerging shoot. Longer coleoptiles allow wheat to 
successfully emerge from deeper sowing.
•  2021 trials conducted on sandy soils at Cootra found that both a Mace and a version of Mace with 
a long coleoptile gene emerged equally well from a sowing depth of 10 cm.
•  The long coleoptile genetics did not show any yield penalty when sown at 10 cm.
•  Four   newly   released commercial  varieties  with longer coleoptiles were all able to 
establish well from a depth of 10 cm.

Lead research organisation EPAG Research Trust
Host research organisation Agricultural Innovation & Research Eyre Peninsula
Trial funding source South Australian Grains Industry Trust (SAGIT) EP120
Related program N/A

Rhaquelle was funded by SAGIT/AIR  EP  as  part  of  the Eyre Peninsula internship in applied grains research project, project code EP120. CSIRO for providing the long coleoptile germplasm. AGT, LongReach and lnterGrain for proving seed of the newly released  varieties.   This  work was also made possible through the 
National Landcare Program's Resilient  EP  project.  Todd Matthews and family for providing the trial site. Gary Miller, Mark Saunders, Ashley Flint and Jacob Giles of EPAG Research for their assistance.

Other trial partners CSIRO Agriculture and Food
Download the trial report to view additional trial information


Crop type Cereal (Grain): Wheat
Treatment type(s)
  • Management systems: Seeding systems
Trial type Experimental
Trial design Randomised,Blocked

Site D, Cootra, SA 2021

Sow rate or Target density 160 plants/m2
Sow date 7 May 2021 7 May 2021
Harvest date 1 December 2021 1 December 2021
Plot size Not specified
Plot replication 3
Plot blocking Randomised complete block


16kg/ha phosphorus

14kg/ha Nitrogen 

Post emergence 

106kg/ha Nitrogen

Foliar Application 

120gm/ha Zinc

150gm/ha Manganese

45gm/ha Copper @ late tillering 



Weed control was achieved through the application of 118 g/ha of Sakura®, and 1.6 L/ha of Avadex Xtra® applied prior to seeding and 25 g/ha of Paradigm®, 300 ml/ha of LVE MCPA, 500 ml/1 00L of Uptake®, applied post-emergent


70 ml/ha of Alpha Scud®,


300 ml/ha of Prosaro®, 600 ml/ha of Aviator®

Download the trial report to view additional method/treatment information
Trial source data and summary not available
Check the trial report PDF for trial results.
Observed trial site soil information
Trial site soil testing
Not specified
Soil conditions
Trial site Soil texture
Site D, Cootra, SA, SA Sandy loam over sandy clay loam
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source: ASRIS
Trial site Soil order
Site D, Cootra, SA, SA Lake
National soil grid Source: CSIRO/TERN
NOTE: National Soil Grid data is aggregated information for background information on the wider area
Actual soil values can vary significantly in a small area and the trial soil tests are the most relevant data where available

Soil properties



Site D, Cootra, SA SA 2021

Observed climate information

Rainfall avg ann (mm) 340mm
Rainfall avg gsr (mm) 241mm
Rainfall trial total (mm) 413mm
Rainfall trial gsr (mm) 268mm

Derived climate information

Site D, Cootra, SA SA

NOTE: Exact trial site locality unknown - Climate data may not be accurate

Some data on this site is sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology

SILO weather estimates sourced from https://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/silo/
Jeffrey, S.J., Carter, J.O., Moodie, K.B. and Beswick, A.R. (2001). Using spatial interpolation to construct a comprehensive archive of Australian climate data , Environmental Modelling and Software, Vol 16/4, pp 309-330. DOI: 10.1016/S1364-8152(01)00008-1.

Trial report and links

2021 trial report

Trial last modified: 16-03-2023 11:21am AEST