Herbert region growers and millers to benefit from plant breeding program improvements

Date Posted

16 June, 2015

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Sugarcane growers and millers in the Herbert region north centered on Ingham will benefit from significant enhancements that Sugar Research Australia (SRA) is making to its sugarcane breeding in that region.

SRA Executive Manager Development, Dr Peter Allsopp, said that SRA’s breeding programs across the industry continued to bring new and improved sugarcane varieties through the development pipeline for the industry, and an important part of that process was working with local industry needs.

“The enhancements to plant breeding in the Herbert include a stronger emphasis on selecting varieties with good pachymetra resistance and with lower flowering, to ensure varieties are being developed that maximise returns to industry,” Dr Allsopp said.

“The way we trial varieties will also be changed so that potential varieties can be put through their paces earlier in a range of different conditions to see how they perform. We will also be ensuring that varieties ratoon well by working with Herbert Cane Productivity Service to harvest some of them under commercial conditions.

“There will also be changes at the SRA farm, including additional staff, new equipment, and refurbished equipment.

“These changes will deliver positive outcomes to Herbert region growers and millers and will have broader benefits across the industry It will help us continue to have new varieties moving through the pipeline to become a commercial reality in the paddock. Together with the Herbert initiative of Target 85, we expect to see Herbert yields increase significantly.”

The SRA Board is visiting the Herbert region in mid-June to discuss the positive announcement first-hand with the region’s growers and millers.
SRA has worked with the sugarcane industry to identify plant breeding and the release of optimally adapted sugarcane varieties as one of its eight key focus areas. Plant breeding receives approximately 43 percent of SRA funding, the largest of any area of SRA’s investments in the industry.
Local Herbert region grower Michael Pisano welcomed the enhancements.

“I congratulations the Board and management of SRA in having the foresight to make these enhancements to the breeding program in the Herbert,” Mr Pisano said. “The resources that are being put toward the problems we face in the Herbert is something that the local industry strongly welcomes.”
The SRA Board and CEO are in the Herbert region on June 16 to discuss this issue along with a chance to
meet with the local industry.

Media contact: SRA Brad Pfeffer 0419 175 815

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