Breeding activity in 2003 was concentrated on the Bent grasses (Agrostis spp.), with final selections being made in Brown Top and Creeping Bents for the parental lines of new “synthetic” cultivars which should be ready for release to the seed-increase growers in two to three years. Work continued on the identification of superior lines in ecotypic populations of the lowland Australian native bents and in some introduced and local types of Red Fescue (Festuca rubra).

Other turf investigations included continuation of work on the causes of varietal differences in the efficiency of phosphorus acquisition in Bent and Couch (Cynodon dactylon), expansion of the number of salt tolerant lines of several species in the germplasm collection and the initiation of a significant expansion of the Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) collection as a prelude to commencement of major investigations in that species in 2004.

Duncan Fraser