Ma­jor in­vest­ment in su­gar­cane pro­gram to im­prove breed­ing

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - The Mulberry Project -

SU­GAR­CANE grow­ers and millers will be the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of sig­nif­i­cant en­hance­ments to the way Aus­tralian su­gar­cane va­ri­eties are cre­ated.

Su­gar Re­search Aus­tralia is the lead or­gan­i­sa­tion that de­vel­ops new cane va­ri­eties and has just an­nounced th­ese new en­hance­ments to its process for cre­at­ing su­gar­cane va­ri­eties, which will target im­proved prof­itabil­ity for su­gar­cane grow­ers and millers.

“SRA has set the am­bi­tious goal of de­liv­er­ing a two per­cent im­prove­ment in an­nual ge­netic gain for new su­gar­cane va­ri­eties,” SRA CEO Neil Fisher said.

“To put that goal into con­text, the global aver­age gain for wheat breed­ing is one per­cent per an­num, and the global aver­age for su­gar­cane is less than one per­cent.

“But we have set this two per­cent target based on feed­back from the in­dus­try that new va­ri­eties must con­tinue to of­fer mean­ing­ful im­prove­ments and im­prove prof­itabil­ity for our grower and miller in­vestors.”

Mr Fisher said the process would be led by Key Fo­cus Area Leader, Dr Ja­son Eglin­ton, one of Aus­tralia’s lead­ing plant breed­ers.

Dr Eglin­ton re­viewed the cur­rent breed­ing pro­gram and the SRA Board en­dorsed his rec­om­men­da­tions for a se­ries of en­hance­ments.

Mr Fisher said this rep­re­sented in­vest­ment of an ad­di­tional $4 mil­lion over seven years, which re­in­forced the de­vel­op­ment of new commercial va­ri­eties as the sin­gle largest in­vest­ment SRA makes on be­half of in­vestors.

“By set­ting the 2 per­cent goal, and defin­ing a clear strat­egy to target that goal, we are lay­ing the foun­da­tion for on­go­ing im­prove­ment in the breed­ing pro­gram.”

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