24 October, 2018
Sugarcane growers and productivity services companies have until 15 November 2018 to place their orders for sugarcane tissue culture, if they are planning to use this technology for planting new crops in spring 2019.
Tissue culture is increasing in popularity due to its potential for managing plant diseases, and for allowing growers to access new varieties more quickly. 2018 was a record year for the technology, with over 76,000 plants ordered from Sugar Research Australia (SRA).
Tissue culture is a technique that grows planting material – in this case sugarcane – in a laboratory and nursery before being transferred to growers or productivity services for planting. These plants are then typically grown in small plots to bulk them out for more widespread commercial planting.
SRA Researcher, Dr Clair Bolton, said that growers and productivity services needed to place their orders by the deadline to allow sufficient time for the material to be prepared ahead of spring planting next year.
“SRA and productivity services encourage growers who are considering tissue culture to talk to their local productivity services organisation for local advice,” Dr Bolton said. “There are also information sheets available on the SRA website, as well as an online calculator that can help you work out how many plantlets you may need.”
Tissue culture has been recognised as an effective way of controlling diseases that are spread through planting material, including ratoon stunting disease, leaf scald, and Fiji leaf gall.
Sugar Services Proserpine Manager, Peter Sutherland, said the Proserpine region had moved toward greater use of tissue culture and one eye sett material as part of a move to make it easy for growers to obtain new varieties quickly and replenish clean source material for their existing varieties.
He said that sourcing clean planting material – such as through tissue culture – was valuable for creating a strong foundation for productivity in the district.
“It not only helps lessen the disease burden in a district, but it is also another means of growers being able to access new varieties faster,” Mr Sutherland said.
There is more information on sugarcane varieties and tissue culture via the recently published regional Variety Guides, available online at https://sugarresearch.com.au/growers-and-millers/varieties/.