Breeding Superior Varieties

Since replanting is an expensive exercise that must generate returns over the following decade, it is important to choose varieties wisely.

SASRI produces high-yielding, pest, and disease-resistant sugarcane varieties to suit a wide range of bioclimatic conditions and cutting cycles. These varieties are pivotal for successful sugarcane enterprises within South Africa, and throughout Africa.

Our breeding programme owes its success to well-qualified experienced research and support staff, working in modern, well-equipped facilities and research farms.

Senior Plant Breeder

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Information Sheets

SASRI produces an information sheet for every variety released to the industry. These sheets contain comprehensive information about yield, quality, reaction to pests and diseases and a range of other agronomic characteristics. There are also pictures and details of appearance to assist with the identification of each variety.

* In addition to N12, SASRI has also released N12 Zapyr, an imazapyr-tolerant variety produced through mutagenic breeding (exposing sugarcane cells to a chemical mutagen in a laboratory). Usually, imazapyr applications to a fallow field are followed by a waiting period before sugarcane is planted. N12 Zapyr may be planted directly into treated soils without comprising germination.

Books

SASRI produces an information sheet for every variety released to the industry. These sheets contain comprehensive information about yield, quality, reaction to pests and diseases and a range of other agronomic characteristics. There are also pictures and details of appearance to assist with the identification of each variety.

Seedcane Production

This manual outlines the procedures for the production of good quality seedcane. Seedcane is defined as any sugarcane plant material which is intended for use in the propagation of sugarcane. Planting good quality seedcane is crucial for profitable sugarcane production. The potential yield of a crop will not be attained if seedcane of poor quality is planted. In spite of this, seedcane production is an aspect of sugarcane management that is often neglected.

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Plant Breeding Crossing & Selection Programmes

Each year SASRI plant breeders select parent varieties that will be planted in the glasshouse and photoperiod house to obtain flowers for crossing. The main goal of this programme is to select varieties suited to the major agroclimatic regions of the sugar industry.

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Sugarcane quarantine in South Africa

Sugarcane clones from foreign countries are imported into South Africa to broaden the genetic base of the parental breeding stock. Imported varieties are also evaluated as potential commercial varieties. The movement of sugarcane between countries carries a risk of introducing potentially serious diseases and therefore requires stringent quarantine procedures.

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Decision Support Tools

While our variety information sheets are comprehensive technical documents containing all known features of varieties, the large number of varieties do not allow for rapid, direct comparisons for specific characteristics.

Your SASRI Extension Specialist can help you in this regard. All Extension Specialists have access to a digital application that was specifically designed by SASRI to recommend varieties based on region, soil potential and preferred cutting cycle, and to enable quick and easy comparisons between varieties.

Government Gazette

In terms of the Sugar Act, the South African Sugar Association publishes an annual update to the Government Gazette detailing which varieties of sugarcane may be grown in each of the predefined control areas within the industry.

See varieties gazetted for each region

Services

Many SADC and other African countries have formal agreements with SASRI to utilise our varieties. Depending on the country and the estate in question, SA varieties constitute anything from 50 to 100% of the varieties grown.

Quarantine Service

Under licence from the government department responsible for plant quarantine, SASRI operates a world-class quarantine facility used for importing and exporting seedcane material used in local and international sugarcane breeding programmes. SASRI makes use of modern molecular techniques for detecting important sugarcane pathogens.

SASRI Extension Specialists located throughout the South African sugar industry are available to offer advice and support on crop nutrition and all other aspects of sugarcane farming.

Research

SASRI conducts research and implements strategies for the continual release of high yielding, adaptable, pest and disease resistant varieties that add value and enhance industry productivity. Visit our VARIETY IMPROVEMENT webpage for more information.

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