Group to review priorities for cane varieties
A NEW industry working group will review how the characteristics of potential sugarcane varieties are prioritised during the selection process, with the aim of increasing productivity and profitability for the Australian sugarcane industry.
Appointed by the Australian Sugar Industry Alliance and co-ordinated by Sugar Research Australia the group comprises representatives from SRA, Canegrowers, the Australian Milling Council and grower and milling businesses.
Dr Peter Allsopp, SRA's executive manager development, said that year-on-year the plant breeding program received the largest investment from industry-paid levies.
"The aim of our plant breeding program is to maximise profitability from cane production for the entire industry," Dr Allsopp said.
"When we breed a new variety we give each characteristic, for example - disease-resistance, cane yield, sugar content or the ability to withstand certain soil conditions - an economic weighting.
"These economic weightings are then added together. Potential varieties that score the highest economic value are likely to have the most success in the field and provide grower and miller businesses with the best financial outcome."
The economic weightings which are based on production and milling costs for each cane-growing region have not been reviewed since 2006.
"Since 2006 changes have been made to the way sugarcane is produced and processed, and other characteristics may have become more important to the industry."
The review will start in November when participants of the sugarcane industry will be invited to regional forums to put forward their suggestions on how the system can be improved.