In a public-private partnership, Australian agribusiness ABB Grain signed a A$5.7 million deal with the University of Adelaide to develop new malting and feed barley varieties for export and domestic markets.

The grains would be developed for growing conditions in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, said ABB director and Owen district grower, Dr Andy Barr.

The company said in a statement it would benefit from any share in revenue received from varieties released during the life of the agreement through revenue of seed sales, a share of breeder’s royalties and fees for management of licensing growers and collection of the breeder royalty.

The University of Adelaide is conducting the research in its role as the southern node of Barley Breeding Australia, a national program which aims to expand the barley industry.

The university will combine germplasm from the university and departments of Primary Industry in NSW, Victoria and Queensland and the WA Agriculture Dept.

In March last year, the university's commercialization arm, Adelaide Research & Innovation, named ABB as its commercialization partner for its barley brands Flagship and Fleet.

ABB will contribute to evaluation of any new malting varieties through its wholly owned malting subsidiary, Joe White Maltings.

This is the first year that commercial volumes of Flagship - which has been specifically developed for the large brewing and malting markets in South East Asia, China and Japan - has been available for general planting by growers.

ABB says Flagship has substantially improved yield and disease resistance compared to older varieties such as Schooner and Sloop, as well as improved malting quality to ensure Australian barley exports remain competitive in the international market.

Correction: An article published on Thursday, July 19, 2007 incorrectly stated that ABB Grain had signed a $5.7 billion research deal with the University of Adelaide. The correct amount is A$5.7 million.