Andrew Milgate

Research interests

  • Genetics of plant pathogen interactions
  • Phenomics
  • Germplasm development
  • Association between wheat genotype and organisms to enhance nutrient use efficiency
  • Climate change effects on disease incidence and severity in southern NSW


Dr Milgate has BSc (Hons) from the University of Newcastle in which he specialised in plant science before undertaking PHD studies in plant pathology and molecular genetics at University of Tasmania.

Dr Migate was appointed Wheat Breeder with NSW Department of Primary Industries at Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute (WWAI) in 2000. In this role he was responsible for scientific direction of NSW DPI wheat breeding program in conjunction with Dr Peter Martin, specifically to provide expertise in plant pathology, molecular genetic research and germplasm development. A major focus of his research was the development of cultivars with resistance to two of the major wheat diseases of southern NSW, Septoria tritici blotch and Stripe rust.

His work resulted in the commercial release of seven wheat cultivars (an eighth due for release in 2008) for NSW.

Dr Milgate has considerable experience in developing molecular markers for use in marker-assisted selection, which has enabled more rapid identification and incorporation of quality and resistance genes into varieties for NSW & Australia. His research resulted in increased adoption of the use of molecular markers, which enabled a five-fold expansion in the WWAI crossing program. This intense marker assisted selection allowed up to 100% greater frequency in target gene frequencies in many crosses.

Dr Milgate was appointed Research Plant Pathologist in 2007, to develop and lead the NSW DPI research program into the diseases of winter cereals grown in southern NSW.

Current projects

  • Exploiting resistance to Septoria tritici blotch in wheat  (Value Added Wheat CRC, GRDC and NSWDPI)
  • High yielding winter cereal genotypes for irrigated environments in south east Australia (Irrigated Cropping Forum, GRDC and NSWDPI)
  • Novel genetics for improved drought tolerance in wheat (NSW Biofirst)
  • Genetic analysis of non-specific resistance to Septoria tritici blotch Australian Wheat and Barley Molecular Marker Program (GRDC)
  • National variety testing for Septoria tritici blotch and cereal rusts (GRDC)

Recent publications

Raman R, Milgate AW, Imtiaz M, M-K Tan, Raman H, Lisle C, Coombes N, Martin P (Submitted) Molecular mapping and physical location of major genes conferring seedling and adult plant resistance to Septoria tritici leaf blotch in wheat. Molecular Plant Breeding.

Milgate AW, Vaillancourt RE, Powell M, Mohammed C, Potts BM (2005) Genetic structure of a Mycosphaerella cryptica population. Australasian Journal of Plant Pathology 34, 345-354.

Milgate AW, Potts BM, Joyce K, Mohammed C, Vaillancourt RE (2005) Genetic variation in Eucalyptus globulus for susceptibility to Mycosphaerella nubilosa and its association with growth. Australasian Journal of Plant Pathology 34, 11-18.

Jefferies S, Kuchel H, McLean R, Milgate AW, Eastwood R (2005) Validation and implementation of molecular markers for rust resistance. pp 20. “Global Landscapes” in Cereal Rust Control, Katoomba, September 20-21.

Brennan JP, Rehman A, Raman H, Milgate AW, Pleming D, Martin PJ (2005) An economic assessment of the value of molecular markers in plant breeding programs. 49th annual conference of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, Coffs Harbour, February.

Professional association and activities

  • Wheat Breeders Society of Australia
  • Australasian Plant Pathology Society
  • American Phytopathological Society
  • Past Secretary of the Australian Wheat Breeders Association (2002 – 2005)
  • NSW representative for the Australian Wheat Breeders Association
  • NSW DPI representative on the Australian Cereal Rust Control Program consultative committee

Contact details