New sugarcane variety available for Far North and Herbert regions

Date Posted

18 May, 2020

Posted by

brad.pfeffer

Sugarcane growers and millers in the Herbert Region and in Far North Queensland (FNQ) will have access to a new sugarcane variety developed by Sugar Research Australia (SRA).

The new variety, called SRA28, has been approved for release by a committee of sugarcane growers and millers in these two respective growing regions, and its release follows extensive development and trials. It will be available for planting in the FNQ region this year and in the Herbert next year.

SRA Far North Queensland Plant Breeder, Dr Felicity Atkin, said that in SRA’s trials SRA28 had shown competitive performance with existing varieties Q200 and Q208 with respect to cane yield and sugar content (CCS), across all trial sites and crop classes.

“In our trials, SRA28 has been a reliable germinator, but has shown some variable germination when long hot water treated in a couple of propagations,” Dr Atkin said. “Its initial growth is slower than most commercial varieties, but it has good canopy closure, which is an important trait for helping growers to control weeds. It stands up straight and tall, which makes it good for harvesting.

“It also tends not to flower greatly, which is another positive trait for the industry, as well as having a good resistance to important diseases such as Pachymetra root rot and Leaf Scald. It is intermediate resistant to smut.”

She said the variety had been tested on a range of commercial farms across the Herbert and FNQ.

Mulgrave grower John Ferrando has an SRA Final Assessment Trial (FAT) on his property and has been a collaborator with SRA variety trials for more than 35 years.

“This new variety SRA28 is on the edge row of our FAT and is looking good at the moment,” Mr Ferrando said. “It has had a tough season so had a slow start, but it now has a bit of moisture under it and looks to be a nice stand of cane.”

He said these on-farm trials were valuable in helping gather information for farmers and millers in a range of conditions, and he congratulated the local SRA plant breeding team on their thorough work constructing the trial and gathering data.

SRA28 will be available for distribution to growers for planting this year in FNQ, and 2021 in the Herbert.

Dr Atkin thanked all SRA’s farm collaborators, members of the Regional Variety Committees, and the local productivity service organisations in their ongoing collaboration with the local breeding program.

More information on SRA28, and other sugarcane varieties for the Herbert and FNQ Region, will be available in the 2020/21 SRA Variety Guides, which will be available for growers and millers of the region later this year.