Yesterday, HCPSL met with Grower Collectives representatives and a number of planting contractors to investigate ways to better manage RSD and the adoption of Approved Seed cane.
HCPSL Company Manager Lawrence Di Bella presented data on the level of infection in growers “supposedly clean seed cane” to be used for commercial planting for the past 3 and current year.
9.1%, year to date.
These figures are very concerning and really indicates that growers must be very valiant with their farm hygiene and obtain Approved Seed on a regular basis to get on top of this disease.
HCPSL, currently has around 5000-6000t of Approved Seed cane available through its plots this year, with orders for only for about 4000t at present. Not all varieties are available, but there are considerable volumes of MQ239, Q200, Q208, Q253, SRA26 and SRA31 still available. Growers who are seeking more of these varieties are asked to contact HCPSL staff to arrange collection of this cane.
HCPSL has wholestalk and billet harvesters in most plots now days making it easier for growers to access Approved Seed cane.
This year growers have the option for Hinchinbrook Towing Service- 0400 702 113 to collect cane from the Approved Seed plots on a fee for service arrangement. Whole stalk trailers can be collected from farm, dropped off to the appropriate HCPSL Approved Seed plot farm and then returned when filled with cane. Another option available is the collection of billets from the plots and delivered to your billet planter for planting.
Research undertaken by HCPSL and SRA clearly shows that growers who use Approved Seed cane for planting on average have a 13% increase in financial returns when compared to growers who don’t use Approved Seed cane.
Getting cane from the neighbour is not “clean” cane! Your neighbours may have RSD present in the cane you are getting from them.
Ask your self- “When was the last time when I purchased Approved Seed cane from the HCPSL plots, used tissue culture cane or long hot water treated cane?”
It is time now to get Approved Seed cane for your farm for nextyear and don’t forget to sterilise all your planting equipment before you plant it!
Contact your HCPSL officer to obtain Approved Seed cane- 47761808.
The Herbert Variety Committee meeting was held on the 5th of April 2023. The outcomes from the meeting are as follows:
The industry delegates approved the RELEASE of SRA40 (seedling number- QS07-7049) for Herbert growers. This variety will now be propagated by HCPSL for distribution through their Approved Seed plots in 2025. Growers who wish to order tissue culture cane for delivery in 2024, please contact Rhiannan Harragan (HCPSL Field Officer)- 47761808 or 0400 558 766.
The meeting reviewed the smut data on SRA31, and it was decided to distribute SRA31 from HCPSL Approved Seed plots in 2023.
The industry delegates voted against the release of QN08-2274 based upon smut concerns. Growers who have this seedling planted in HCPSL strip trials and growers who have obtained from other sources are not permitted to plant this clone any further.
The industry delegates voted to put SRA37 on hold based on sugar quality concerns. SRA will continue to undertake research on this variety.
The industry delegates voted to put on hold QS10-8459, QS10-7130 and SRA21 pending more data on smut and mill characteristics.
Governance of the RVC:
The Herbert RVC have established governance procedures in which the meetings are run and managed. Governance procedures that need to be followed:
SRA and HCPSL present variety data to the committee and they do not have a vote on the progression or release of any variety.
Currently, the voting delegates consist of representatives from the following groups- 3 miller representatives and 3 grower representatives (currently 2 delegates from CANEGROWERS Herbert River collective and 1 delegate from the combined ACFA, AgForce and HCQR collectives).
Clones and varieties being considered for HOLDING or MAX PROPAGATION are voted upon by the delegates. The decision from the delegates will be by majority rules.
Clones and varieties being considered for RELEASE to industry will be voted upon by the delegates also. In this situation for a variety to proceed to RELEASE the vote must be unanimous, with all delegates voting in favour.
SRA31- Distribution through HCPSL Approved Seed plots
During 2022, it was decided to hold off on the distribution of SRA31 based upon some observations of smut. Critical review of the situation indicated the unusual smut infection was likely due to the interaction between very high temperatures and herbicide application. During the 2023 Herbert RVC meeting it was decided to proceed with the distribution of the variety to growers from HCPSL Approved Seed plots.
Growers who are wishing to purchase SRA31 from the HCPSL Approved Seed plots are requested to contact the HCPSL office- 47761808, immediately to order planting material.
Rogue clone found in SRA28
HCPSL and SRA staff identified a rogue clone in some HCPSL Approved Seed plots during their routine inspections of the plots for diseases and variety correctness. QN05-1380 has been found to be mixed with SRA28 with some cane supplied to growers in the past 2 years.
QN05-1380 was discarded by the SRA plant breeding program because its poor yield performance.
Variety tracing activities have been undertaken by both HCPSL and SRA staff to identify how the mix up occurred, however there are no clear leads on how QN05-1380 became mixed with SRA28 in the first place.
The HCPSL Approved Seed plots of concern are as follows:
HCPSL Central plot
HCPSL Abergowrie Erkkila plot
HCPSL Fairford Farming plot (Hamleigh)
The impacted growers have been recently contacted. These growers have been asked to obtain new stocks of SRA28 from HCPSL, if they wish to continue growing the variety to ensure variety correctness.
Growers can be reassured that cane purchased from HCPSL Approved Seed plots is RSD free.
HCPSL is requesting all growers to be on the lookout for the rogue clone and report it to HCPSL immediately. Photographs on the next 2 pages will highlight the visual differences between SRA28 and QN05-1380. QN05-1380 has a similar stalk colour appearance to MQ239.
HCPSL and SRA apologise for any inconvenience caused. HCPSL will ensure that growers who wish to obtain new SRA28 planting material in 2023, will be able to do so.
HCPSL will start seed cane inspections for growers tomorrow (Tuesday 31 January) for all Herbert growers. This year things will be done a little differently. HCPSL will be using three different methods of testing this season.
SRA’s Molecular Plant Pathologist Dr Chuong Ngo and Translational Research Pathologist Dr Rob Magarey visited HCPSL on 24 January to train HCPSL staff on the new Ratoon Stunting Disease (RSD) testing method called leaf sheaf biopsies (LSB).
A core (otherwise called a leaf punch) is taken from the leaf sheath of the cane plant, mixed with distilled water, and then sent off to the laboratory for analysis. The RSD bacteria weeps from the leaf punch into the distilled water over a few hours and is then analysed.
This sampling method is just as accurate as the expressed xylem sap method and both use the quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) test that was made available to growers two years ago by HCPSL. However, the LSB method is more efficient in the field for collection of samples. It can also be done earlier in the year that phase contrast microscopy (PCM) method. The PCM (microscope) method will still be made available to growers, but this method can be less accurate when detecting RSD than LSB and qPCR.
HCPSL staff will only be testing cane that will be used for planting in 2023. Growers will only be permitted to sample one block/variety for every 20 ha farmed. This ruling has been put in place to allow HCPSL staff to get across all farms. There will be no charge for Herbert growers using the seed inspection service.
Growers who wish to undertake a whole of farm RSD survey will be invoiced accordingly. This is not a core HCPSL service. Full farm RSD surveys will only be undertaken mid-year after all seed inspections are completed for cane to be planted this season.
The other change this year is that growers will need to come into the HCPSL office with their most recent farm maps, downloaded from the Wilmar website, to book a seed cane inspection with HCPSL staff. Due to changes at Wilmar concerning data management and security, HCPSL currently does not have copies of grower farm maps and data.
HCPSL is working with Wilmar to gain access to farm data, but new computer systems will need to be upgraded before growers can go online through the Wilmar website to grant permission to HCPSL to gain data access. Both HCPSL and Wilmar apologise for the inconvenience caused and are working together to resolve this matter.
The turnaround time from collection to receiving your results using the LSB and qPCR methods is about two weeks, so growers will need to plan which varieties/blocks they want tested. RSD samples will be processed by both the SRA and Metagen labs located in Brisbane and Gatton respectively.
HCPSL and SRA data have shown that growers who utilise Approved and disease-free planting material will grow on average 11 tonnes cane per hectare (tch) more than growers who don’t.
Don’t take it for granted that the cane you are planting this year is disease free, get it tested!
Growers are urged to contact the HCPSL office ASAP to organise a seed cane inspection by HCPSL field staff.
To download a copy of the Press Release, view the document below.
Last week, HCPSL and Burdekin Productivity Services (BPS) hosted productivity services groups from across the industry at the 2022 Combined Productivity Services Group Conference. Productivity groups from Mossman to Isis were in attendance. Over 60 industry agronomists and advisors visited the Herbert to explore news ideas, discuss issues, and share findings.
Over 2 days the groups focused on a range of topics, including – diseases, varieties, pests, technology, weeds, and nutrition. Throughout the conference, the groups discussed industry and district specific issues they faced.
Alike to the Herbert, delivering clean seed was a key triumph and core focus for many productivity groups. While RSD, pigs and rats were highlighted as common issues across various districts.
Initial presentations became the catalyst for extensive group discussion around methods for managing RSD and the effective delivery of clean seed. Conference participants then visited the Macknade site, where varieties were spotlighted. Presenters from across the industry explored the use of genomic selection, molecular markers and tissue culture.
During Day 2 the management of 2,4-D drift, weeds and feral pigs was discussed by the groups. Finally, the benefits of nutrient management, soil sampling and soil health were explored in detail by presenters. Presentations highlighted the need for soil health in sustaining productivity. To conclude the conference, interested participants were invited to visit the HCPSL hot water tanks at Victoria Mill.
Presentations and discussions from across the 2 days proved widely beneficial for all in attendance. HCPSL thanks all productivity groups and industry professionals who attended the conference and shared knowledge, contributed ideas and engaged in robust discussions.
HCPSL would like to acknowledge the following Sponsors of the 2022 Combined Productivity Services Group Conference – Wilmar, Nufarm, SRA and Burdekin Productivity Services.
Congratulations to Ethan Waters the winner of 2022 C.N. Barton Medal for best JCU engineering thesis seminar. He received the award on Thursday evening of the 27th of October at JCU. Additionally, Ethan was the runner-up for the Engineers Australia | Institute of Engineering Technology Student Seminar Competition QLD Finals for Software, Electrical & Electronic Engineering. He received the award on Wednesday night, the 19th of October, at the Engineers Australia office in Brisbane.
Ethan was the James Cook University representative, presenting his thesis on “Sugarcane Health Monitoring and Ratoon Stunting Disease (RSD) Detection with Freely Available Multispectral Satellites”.
Ethan thanked Engineers Australia and the Institute of Engineering Technology for hosting the events. He also thanked his JCU supervisors, Mostafa Rahimi Azghadi and Carla Ewels, for their guidance and the team from HCPSL who assisted him with his studies.
Ethan will continue to work (as a JCU student) with HCPSL staff to progress the research he has undertaken into RSD detection.
Once again congratulations Ethan, your dedication and hard work has paid off.
Research undertaken by HCPSL, and SRA clearly shows that growers who use Approved Clean Seed from HCPSL grow on average 11 tonnes of cane per hectare more cane than those who don’t use clean cane. Using Approved Clean Seed is an easy way to increase farm productivity.
This year HCPSL has billet harvesters in all plots and wholestalk harvesters in the Stone River, Abergowrie and Central plots.
Growers are urged to collect cane ordered from HCPSL Approved Seed plots as soon as possible.
Cane stocks in the Abergowrie, Central and Ingham Line plots are near exhaustion and the Four Mile plot is now closed because all the cane has been sold. SRA36 is still available at the Central plot for growers to hand cut their allocation.
There are still good stocks in the Macknade and Stone River plots of most varieties, excluding SRA26, SRA28 and SRA36. At the Macknade and Stone River plots there are some varieties that have not been committed to growers to date, so growers who forgot to order cane or would like more cane can contact the following HCPSL Field staff:
Ingham Line plot – Tony McClintock on 0447 304 963
Macknade plot – Tony McClintock on 0447 304 963
Central plots – Jason Caruso on 0417 622 129
Stone River plot – Jason Caruso on 0417 622 129
Abergowrie plot – Richard Hobbs on 0400 544 301
HCPSL will complete the planting of the 2023 HCPSL Approved Seed plots in the next week.
To download a copy of the full Press Release, view the document below.