Date Posted

19 June, 2019

Posted by

Cathy Weis

Two new varieties of sugarcane have been approved for sugarcane growers and millers in New South Wales cane growing areas.

These new varieties are named SRA11 and WSRA18 and are the result of extensive trials and testing of potential new varieties over a period of more than a decade.

SRA Senior Plant Breeder for the Southern Region, Mr Roy Parfitt, said that these varieties had been developed to maximise profitability for sugarcane growers and millers, optimising tonnes of cane, sugar content, resistance to diseases, and ability to be processed within the mill.

SRA11 is available as a one-year and two-year variety. In trials, it had fast, reliable germination and good disease resistance. It is resistant to Pachymetra root rot, Fiji Leaf Gall, leaf scald, Mosaic and intermediate resistant to Red Rot.

WSRA18 is a result of joint breeding work between SRA and Wilmar Sugar, via its program based in the Burdekin region. It has been approved for release as a two-year variety.

This variety has resistance to Fiji Leaf Gall, Leaf Scald, Mosaic and Red Rot, and has an intermediate rating for smut and Pachymetra. It has been released specifically for NSW two-year cane production, where it has shown moderate commercial cane sugar (CCS) but excellent tonnes of cane per hectare (TCH), giving competitive productivity across a range of field trials.

Mr Parfitt said that WSRA18 was noteworthy because it was a product of SRA’s ongoing investment in introgression breeding, which is a technique that harnesses the positive characteristics of wild cane species to help improve commercial sugarcane varieties.

“WSRA18 is a cross between the commercial variety Q208 and a clone that was developed through introgression breeding,” Mr Parfitt said.

“Many wild relatives of sugarcane have characteristics that are favourable to commercial cane production, especially around resistance to important diseases that impact the productivity of commercial crops.

“SRA continues to invest in this innovative approach to plant breeding and this variety is one of the outcomes of that work.”

Mr Parfitt said that the two new varieties were recently approved for release at the NSW Regional Variety Committee (RVC), which consists of representatives of growers, millers and productivity services organisations.

Harwood grower Mr Alan Munro is part of the NSW RVC and he said that the region was looking for new varieties that offer good disease resistance and productivity through tonnes and sugar content.

“Frost is also an issue for us. Most of our crops are grown as two-year crops, but if the cane gets frosted at one-year then we want to be able to harvest the crop in that situation and know there will be sugar there,” Mr Munro said.

“We have seen this improve with recent varieties for our region, so we look forward to better understanding how WSRA18 and SRA11 fit into the mix.”

  • More information on these varieties, and other varieties, will be published in the SRA 2019/20 Variety Guide for NSW, which will soon be available for growers and millers.

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