15 November, 2016
Sugarcane growers and productivity service companies looking to use tissue culture for their spring 2016 planting of clean seed are being reminded to place their orders before November 15.
Using tissue culture for clean seed production is a relatively new technology for the sugarcane industry. The major benefits to growers include earlier availability of new sugarcane varieties and clean, disease free plant material.
SRA Development Officer Roderick Fletcher said the use of tissue culture is an excellent source of clean seed for new varieties, as well as older varieties. Serious diseases that are spread by seed cane include Ratoon Stunting Disease, leaf scald and Fiji leaf gall, which can be managed by using tissue culture.
“In the short time this technology has been adopted by industry, improvements have been made through experience gained in tissue culture production and farm management. A notable outcome from these improvements has been the high survival rate of tissue-culture clean seed plots,” Mr Fletcher said.
“Growers who are considering ordering for this next round should work with their local productivity services organisation so they are aware of the local advice given for planting tissue culture. If you’re new to tissue culture and have some questions you can access our fact sheets on the SRA website.”
SRA has also developed an online calculator to help productivity services and growers estimate how many tissue culture plantlets they may need. It is available at www.sugarresearch.com.au/calculator.
“SRA encourages growers and productivity services to take advantage of the potential that using tissue culture offers.”
Tully region grower Gerard Dore has used tissue culture for the first time this year with his autumn planting for the varieties Q252 and Q253.
“I am a former banana grower and I had used thousands of tissue culture plants in the bananas, so I have been keen to use tissue culture when it started in sugarcane,” Mr Dore said.
“I held off for one year to see how some of the first pioneers went and they seemed to be doing quite well, so I decided to use it this year for a few varieties that I didn’t have enough seed material for.”
He said using tissue culture not only helped access varieties faster, but it also lessened biosecurity risks for the district by reducing the need for farmers to visit a single collection point for varieties.
Media contact: SRA Manager Communications Brad Pfeffer 0419 175 815.