New sugar projects drive productivity, profitability, sustainability

Sugar focuses on productivity, profitability, sustainability

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MOVING FORWARD: New research is set to deliver outcomes for Australian sugarcane growers and millers.

MOVING FORWARD: New research is set to deliver outcomes for Australian sugarcane growers and millers.

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New research is set to deliver outcomes for Australian sugarcane growers and millers.

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A TOTAL of 12 new research projects have been announced to drive the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of Australian sugarcane growers and millers.

These new projects complement the existing portfolio of research investment by Sugar Research Australia and are said to address critical research gaps and requirements that have been identified in SRA’s five-year strategic plan.

SRA chief executive officer Neil Fisher said the new research investment would see research providers from several leading research institutions undertake work to address critical issues for the Australian sugar industry.

“These projects have an emphasis on new and innovative research,” Mr Fisher said.

“For example, CSIRO will be looking closer into the genetics of sugarcane and molecular markers, which will help us to continue to modernise the SRA breeding program, leading to better varieties for growers and millers.

“We are also investing in a major project with QUT to improve pan design and how pans operate. The pan stage of milling is where syrup is converted to sugar, and there is an opportunity with this research to improve the efficiency of this critical component of the milling process, and to do so in a way that minimises the capital investment for our milling members.

“Our investments are also looking at other key topics including improved irrigation system selection, nitrogen use efficiency, and improved farming systems.

“We are also investing in a project led by SRA to ensure our industry is prepared for the possible biosecurity risk posed by moth borers, which exist in neighbouring sugarcane growing countries and would cause serious problems for our industry if we faced an incursion. This type of preparation is a vital insurance policy for the future of our industry.”

These projects have all been assessed based on the outcomes they will provide to the industry, leading to positive outcomes for our investors. - Neil Fisher, Sugar Research Australia

Mr Fisher said these projects had been chosen based on a rigorous selection process over the last six months, overseen by the SRA Research Funding Panel (RFP).

“These projects have all been assessed based on the outcomes they will provide to the industry, leading to positive outcomes for our investors.”

SRA’s investment is funded by the statutory levy of 70c/tonne of cane, to which growers and millers each contribute 35c/t of cane each. This investment in research is supported by a co-contribution of about $7.2 million from the federal government and $2.85m from the Queensland Department of Agriculture.

The projects are:

- Genetic analysis and marker delivery for sugarcane breeding – CSIRO.

- Developing the sugarcane gene catalogue for trait improvement – CSIRO.

- Selecting high value chromosomes from Saccharum species - extension to 2015-26 – CSIRO.

- Development of commercial molecular biological assays for improved sugarcane soil health and productivity – SRA.

- Impact of stool architecture on ratooning: extending current trial to 4R to strengthen correlations – CSIRO.

- Implementation of root system diagnostics to deliver a field-based measure for root health – CSIRO.

- Greenhouse gas emissions from sugarcane soils: strategies for increasing NUE and reducing environmental pollution – Queensland University of Technology.

- Improved irrigation system selection and operation for increased sugarcane productivity and profitability – University of Southern Queensland.

- Pan design and operational changes to suit Australian pan stages operating on low pressure vapour – Queensland University of Technology.

- Validating root system traits for enhanced nutrient capture in challenging environments – CSIRO.

- Establishing sugarcane farming systems to improve soil health – SRA.

- Moth Borers – how are we going to manage them when they arrive? – SRA.

CLICK HERE to see SRA’s research investment portfolio.

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