Variety Guides to help growers make more informed variety decisions

Date Posted

11 October, 2018

Posted by

brad.pfeffer

SRA has produced new online publications that provide the latest detailed information on sugarcane varieties for growers and millers.

The 2018/2019 Variety Guides have been produced for the New South Wales, Southern, Central, Burdekin, Herbert, and Northern regions of the Australian sugar industry.

SRA Adoption Officer, Ms Tracy Hay, said the guides provided the latest information on new, recent and existing sugarcane varieties within each region.

“This information includes updated yield and CCS (commercial cane sugar) data on the new sugarcane varieties from trials undertaken as part of the SRA breeding program,” Ms Hay said. “This information allows growers to compare these new varieties against various standard varieties grown in each region.

“The Variety Guides also provide updated information on the disease resistance of the commercially grown varieties.

Of particular importance within the 2018/2019 Variety Guides is the changes that have been made to the Ratoon Stunting Disease (RSD) ratings.

RSD can cause yield losses of up to 60 percent. While individual varieties respond differently to RSD and are given a rating from SRA, varieties alone should not be relied upon for controlling the disease. Farm hygiene and management practices are also critical to managing the impact of RSD within a farm and a district.

In response to industry requests for better information, varieties are now rated on a scale that extends from “Susceptible” to “Intermediate-Resistant”, reflecting the commercial reality that this level of resistance still requires attention to farm hygiene and clean seed cane to control RSD. No varieties are now considered “Resistant” to RSD.

The variety guides also provide useful information on the uptake of new varieties in different mill areas within regions, biosecurity protocols in relation to movement of machinery and sugarcane and information for ordering sugarcane tissue culture for planting.

“Growers and millers are always keen for more information on variety performance,” Ms Hay said. “There is already tremendous work occurring in many regions to provide information on local performance, and these SRA guides are an important part of that mix. We will be producing new guides earlier in the year in 2019, and these will be available in hard-copy format for growers and millers, so that they are of maximum value to the industry ahead of spring planting.”

Tully grower Mr David Singh is involved in the variety release process through participation in the Tully Variety Management Group and the Far North Queensland Regional Variety Committee, which makes decisions about the release of new varieties.

“Planting a new variety is a big commitment for growers, so we are always looking for more information about how varieties perform such as through the SRA guides or the local group,” Mr Singh said.

“There are a number of varieties that come through the system, and also unique conditions across different parts of the district, so we are looking for a guide on what would work for our situation.”

The guides can be viewed at https://sugarresearch.com.au/sra-information/publications/