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Biotech Sugar Cane Increases Yield and Profit

22 April 2011

AUSTRALIA - Genetically-modified sugar cane that is resistant to pesticides and wet weather and has a high sugar content could be the future for Far Northern growers in Australia.

The Australian sugar industry has announced a series of research priorities that would simplify cane growing, increasing the yield from farmers' fields and put more money in their pockets, says The Cairns Post.

The news follows an industry-wide review of farming practices.

A pesticide-resistant strain of sugar cane, and cane that can withstand the Far North's extreme weather conditions would be looked at, while farming practices would be reviewed so the country could continue to compete with other sugar producing nations.

Australia is a world-leader in sugar production, but Far Northern growers saw major losses this season as crops fell victim to a prolonged wet and cyclone Yasi.

A number of contracts, including those bound for export were not fulfilled. Canegrowers chief executive Steve Greenwood said the industry was set for changes that would help to stop similar problems in the future.

"After an industry-wide review and close consultation with sugar research and extension providers we have a real direction for the industry," he said.

"New varieties of cane will be bred, ones that can thrive in difficult conditions and there will be a big focus on looking at genetically-modified cane, it will be real cutting edge stuff."

A review of farming practices would focus on fertilisers, planting and harvesting. "Getting the highest sugar content possible will be a top priority which means getting the cane to the mill to be crushed faster," Greenwood said.

"Cane that grows faster with high sugar content will be the way of the future for growers. "The industry is set to change and the changes will make farming cheaper, easier and at the bottom line it will be more profitable for growers, millers and the industry alike."

TheCropSite News Desk

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