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Archive for the ‘Variety Management’ Category

It’s time to test seed cane for planting again

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Press release: Monday 30 January 2023

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.

Photo above – Dr Chuong Ngo, Molecular Plant Pathologist, presents  at the HCPSL training day.

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.

Photo above (Left) – HCPSL field staff expressing sap for a xylem sample.
Photo above (Right) – A leaf punch collected for a LSB sample.

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.

HCPSL hosts the 2022 Combined Productivity Services Group Conference

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

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.

Conference attendees visiting the Macknade site.

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.

Press release: DEAD LEAVES IN SRA36 – NO CAUSE FOR CONCERN

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

In the past week you may have noticed dead leaves in your young SRA36 cane crops. Dr. Rob Magarey (SRA Pathologist), HCPSL Company Manager- Lawrence Di Bella, SRA plant breeding team members Dr. Fengduo Hu, Juan Briceno and Linda Di Maggio spent Wednesday the 16th of November in the field inspecting blocks of SRA36 across the district.

On inspecting impacted fields, it was noted a physical damage of the top uncurled top leaves of SRA36 was present; often in the 3rd uncurled leaf. The damage consisted of leaf senescence and yellowing of the tissue of the leaf blade, occurring as a stripe in one or both sides of the midrib, and other times the whole leaf blade. No callus or necrotic line separating live tissue from dead tissue was observed, ruling out a reaction of the plant to a pathogen or parasite. New leaves continue to grow unaffected in the inspected canes; the new leaves and the whole plant did not show any signs of further damage.

Above: Note the yellow senescence on the leaf in a cane stool.
Above: Note the 3rd unfolded leaf that has yellow senescence.

The senescence of the leaves in the SRA36, was due a climatic event that occurred 3 weeks earlier. At that time a number of high dew mornings and fog, followed by high daily temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius in field occurred, with an actively growing crop making it an ideal situation for crop damage. In this particular situation, the soft leaf tissue in the growing point had water present (due to the fog) and the high temperatures experienced during the day caused the plant tissue cells to become damaged. As the plant continued to grow these damaged leaves elongate and become fully unfolded exposing the damaged leaves.

It is anticipated that no yield loss will occur, and the variety will continue to grow to its full potential.

If you see anything usual in the field at any time, please contact HCPSL on 47761808.

JCU Student, Ethan Waters Receives awards for his innovative work into RSD detection.

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

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.

Download a copy of the Press Release below:

Press Release: Closure of HCPSL Approved Clean Seed plots-2022.

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

HCPSL still has some cane varieties available from the HCPSL Approved Clean Seed Stone River and Macknade farms. If you wish to obtain cane from these plots, please contact:

The Ingham Line, Central and Abergowrie plots are already closed or will close by Friday the 30th of September because all cane has been collected or allocated.

All HCPSL Approved Clean Seed cane plots will be closed on the 7th of October.

The HCPSL hot water treatment tanks will remain open until the end of October, if growers are wishing to treat cane.

Growers are urged to contact HCPSL as soon as possible to obtain Approved Clean Seed cane in 2022.

To download a copy of the Press Release, view the file below.

PRESS RELEASE: It’s time to plant your Approved Seed Cane!

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

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:

HCPSL will complete the planting of the 2023 HCPSL Approved Seed plots in the next week.

HCPSL billet harvester loading a growers tipper at the Central plot.
HCPSL planter at Central plot.    

To download a copy of the full Press Release, view the document below.

Tissue Culture Plants Dispatched to Growers

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Almost 16,000 tissue culture sugarcane plants were received by Herbert growers from HCPSL last week. HCPSL will have ordered over 30,000 tissue cultured plants this year. The next shipment of plants will arrive from the nursery around September this year.

This year growers have ordered new varieties like SRA 26, SRA28, SRA31 and SRA36 and older varieties like Q200, Q208, Q231, Q232 and Q253.

The uptake of tissue cultured cane has been growing steadily over that past 4 years in the region. Many growers have opted to purchase the new SRA varieties, so that they can get more cane on farm next year.

Growers who wish to order tissue cultured cane for next year, please contact Rhiannan Harragon on 4776 1808.

Pictured below: (1) HCPSL Staff Rhiannon Harragon & Jason Caruso with tissue culture plants at Macknade. (2) Herbert Grower, Quentin Bosworth receiving his tissue culture last week. (3) Tissue culture plants ready to be dispatched to Herbert growers.

EARLY CCS SAMPLING AT HCPSL – 2022

Posted by Sandra Coco

Dear Growers,

HCPSL is offering growers the opportunity to undertake early CCS sampling of commercial cane fields for 2022.

Growers will need to undertake the following:

Growers will need to drop the CCS sample in the trailer located in the HCPSL/SRA Herbert car park by 8am on the following dates:

Late samples will not be processed.

HCPSL will contact the grower once the samples have been processed and CCS figures determined. (Please keep in mind these are to be used for guidance only as they are calculated  on assumed fibre figures).

HERBERT REGION RATOON STUNTING DISEASE WORKSHOPS

Posted by Rod Neilson

The RSD workshop is developed for Herbert region growers and planting contractors.
The purpose is to provide growers and local industry with information on RSD including:

SEED INSPECTIONS: Call to arrange your seed inspection now

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Think about getting your seed inspections done now and which blocks you may use this year.

Inspection of grower seed blocks for planting by HCPSL has commenced again this year.


Once again, HCPSL will be using the new qPCR method to check cane for RSD. The qPCR method uses DNA diagnostic technology to diagnose the presence or not of the RSD bacteria. This method is much more accurate than older methods, but more expensive to operate.


It is currently costing HCPSL over $40/sample to undertake the test, so we are requesting that growers only test blocks they intend to use as planting material this year. HCPSL will be capping growers to 1 sample per 20 hectares under cane, so only target the varieties you intend to use for planting this year. Growers who wish to test more than their allocated cap will be required to meet the cost of the extra qPCR test and it will only be undertaken once all growers seed inspections are completed.
The cap on the number of samples has also been imposed because of the very high demand for the service and to allow HCPSL to get across more farms throughout the district.


The turnaround time from taking the sample to receiving your results can be up to 2 weeks, so we urge growers to contact the HCPSL office ASAP on 47761808 to book in your tests.


If you have any questions concerning the test or RSD management, please contact your HCPSL Extension Agronomist.


Date issued 18/3/2022

HCPSL