TSL AG Column


Well, as the year moves on, planting is still going on at a frantic pace.

This year’s planting is probably 2-3 weeks later than usual because of all the rain received up until the start of September.

One of things we are currently doing is checking the germination of some of the newer varieties as they come into the system. The newest variety, SRA 28, which was introduced to the industry in 2020, is one where we are monitoring germination of late planted crops.

For testing germination, all we do is mark out a 10m section of a row, and count the stalks from 10 days after planting, up to 70 days after planting, at several different locations across the district. This way we can check the speed of germination at different locations, under different growing conditions (sub-districts) and times of year, to try to isolate variety germination characteristics, because there are so many factors that can affect germination speed and reliability.

In other news, last week we hit a milestone with another one of the newer varieties, SRA 26, being classed as ‘commercial’ with just over 4000 tonnes coming through the mill. This particular variety was introduced to the industry in 2019 and showed immediate promise in local trials conducted in 2019-2020. We have a local benchmark of crushing a minimum of 4000 tonnes for a new variety to be considered commercial. This is to avoid situations where a small amount of a variety is crushed and produces exceptional yield but may not provide a true reflection of commercial performance. Once there are more than 4000 tones, this means around 450-500 hectares of a variety has been harvested.

Again, SRA 26 will not be suited to all situations, but it is a solid yielding cane, with mid to late CCS, and it is resistant to Pachymetra. We think it will contribute to mid to late season CCS, similar to Q200. In fact, to date, the highest CCS result we have had from the mobile mill was from SRA 26 taken in November 2019 from a Murray trial.

Also worth mentioning is a new initiative on which SRA have embarked in collaboration with the local industry to highlight opportunities to improve productivity and profitability, including local application of the latest research outputs. This initiative, known as a Local Expert Analysis (LEA), began a few weeks ago. There are already ideas and new areas of research that are of real interest, which we will be keen to pursue as an industry.

One of these, still in the experimental phase but showing great potential, is a process to test for RSD in the mill itself. Last week, we had scientists from the University of Queensland, who are involved in a project with our locally based plant pathologist Dr Rob Magarey, visit the mill to test equipment and processes. There will certainly a lot more information about this work coming from SRA as this project progresses.

In fact, both of our locally based SRA Researchers, Dr Rob Magarey and Dr Danielle Skocaj, are heavily involved in the LEA process, and we are very fortunate to have them doing this work with us.

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