This programme develops models and better management practices to sustain and enhance sugarcane production within the following broad areas:

Physiology

Research in this Key Area focuses on the gathering of crop physiological data and the use thereof to facilitate modelling, with a view to:

  • Developing high throughput phenotyping tools to assist Commercial Breeding under current and predicted future climatic conditions;
  • Refining the accuracy of crop models and crop yield forecasting. The resources and technologies developed will ultimately enhance the quest for improved efficiencies in Commercial Breeding; and
  • Refinement of harvest age and associated variety management recommendations to growers.

Nutrition

Research in this Key Area focuses on the development of knowledge, technologies and resources to further enhance the accuracy of fertiliser recommendations to the grower community, including:

  • Accurate quantification of soil and leaf nutrient concentrations and the determination of improved leaf nutrient threshold values;
  • Development of near and mid infra-red spectral libraries for rapid, routine diagnostics and analysis of soil fertility
  • Assessment of the efficacy of various sources of nutrients, fertiliser formulations and application rates; and
  • Grower decisions support to optimise whole-farm fertiliser use.

Soil Health

Research in this Key Area focuses on the development of knowledge, technologies and resources to enable the maintenance of, and where necessary, the restoration of soil health. In progress are studies to develop:

  • Knowledge on how soil acidity related processes affect management practices used in sugarcane;
  • Demonstration of the value of best management practices for soil and crop health in partnership with growers; and
  • A labile carbon measure for use in a commercial laboratory to assess impacts of changes in sugarcane management practices on soil health.

Residue Management

Research in this Key Performance Area focuses on the development of knowledge, technologies and resources to enable effective and beneficial Crop Residue Management practices in the industry.

Particular emphasis is placed on the long-term effects of residue retention on crop productivity and soil health so that specific recommendations to growers may be formulated.

Cane Quality Management

Research in this Key Area focuses on the development of knowledge, technologies and resources to enable and demonstrate effective sugarcane chemical cane quality management practices in the industry. Under development are technologies and models that will assist the grower community with chemical ripener decision-making. Proof-of-concept studies are also underway to assess the feasibility of using multi-spectral imagery from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for precision sugarcane quality management.

Climate Change

Research in this Key Area focuses on the assessment of potential impacts of climate change on the industry and exploration of ways in which field management might be modified to adapt to the projected changed climate.

Current Projects

Development of aerial imagery methodology to inform crop stress and high throughput phenotyping (HTP)

Optimal harvest ages for different production regions

Midlands variety management

Development of near and mid infra-red spectral libraries for rapid, routine diagnostics and analysis of soil fertility and salinity and plant nutritional status for local and foreign sugarcane growers

Scoping the development of Fertiliser Optimizer Software

Understanding how soil acidity related processes affect management practices used in sugarcane: A review

Evaluating and demonstrating the value of best management practices for soil and crop health: Silicon as an indicator

Participatory demonstration plots to promote engagement and adoption of best management practices for improved yield and sustainable production in sugarcane

Evaluation and refinement of the permanganate oxidisable labile carbon measure for use in a commercial laboratory to assess changes in sugarcane grower management practices (soil health)

Long-term burning and mulching project

Ripener x varieties evaluation project

Feasibility assessment of using aerial multi-spectral imagery from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for precision sugarcane quality management

Characterising past climate change and its impacts on yield

Programme Manager: Crop Performance & Management

   
View details