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Train loaded with locally harvested sugar cane
passes through Canal Point fields that are planted to experimental varieties
developed by ARS researchers. Click the image for more information about
New Sugarcane Variety Resists Major Diseases
January 4, 2006
Sugarcane growers in Florida are
quickly adopting a new variety that has shown resistance to the major
yield-limiting diseases common there. Developed by scientists with the
Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the
University of Florida and the sugarcane
industry, the new variety is known as CP 89-2143 and has a high sugar content
from October through March--roughly the entire sugarcane harvest season.
Glaz, Jimmy D. Miller, Peter Y.P. Tai and
Comstock at the agency's
Field Station in Canal Point, Fla., collaborated with James M. Shine Jr. of
the Florida Sugar Cane League and
Christopher W. Deren, formerly with the University of Florida, to develop the
new variety. ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures chief in-house scientific research agency.
As the nations largest producer of sugarcane and sugar, Florida fills
more than 22 percent of the nations domestic sugar needs. The sugar
industry in Florida processes 2 million tons of raw and refined sugar each
year, adding more than $2 billion to the state's economy.
At the heart of the Florida sugar industry is Lake Okeechobee, in the area
where approximately 450,000 acres of sugar cane are grown annually. Proximity
to the lake is important, because it offers cold moderation to the tender cane
during occasional harsh winter weather.
Just a quarter of a mile east of Lake Okeechobee, Comstock and his
colleagues have been tackling some of the biggest problems facing
Floridas sugar industry. For example, a freeze can come anytime between
December and late March, causing sugarcane to deteriorate. Growers are always
searching for varieties with freeze tolerance that will give them extra time in
which to harvest their crop, and CP 89-2143 is one of these highly
sought-after, freeze- tolerant varieties.
CP 89-2143s acreage has increased quickly, from just 1 percent of
sugarcane acreage in the state in 2000 to 14.9 percent in 2004. It is expected
that updated figures will show CP 89-2143 to easily exceed 15 percent of
Floridas total sugar cane acreage.
information about this research is available in the January issue of
Agricultural Research magazine.