1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
(1) Produce enough true seed of recommended crosses at Canal Point to supply the Florida cooperative sugarcane breeding program. (2) Select, develop and release high-yielding sugarcane cultivars. (3) Evaluate varieties under different sugarcane production systems in use in Florida. (4) Develop marker assisted selection for hard to select traits. (5) Develop and institute new disease screening methods for important sugarcane pathogens.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Make crosses with basic species of Saccharum and related genera. All known techniques will be used to synchronize flowering to increase the probability of making desirable crosses, hybrids will be crossed and backcrossed under unconventional systems of breeding in an effort to increase the genetic contribution of the exotic parents in commercial cultivars. The influence of environmental conditions, stalk preservation techniques of both male and female and pollen loading (ratio of male: female tassels) will be evaluated. Screening methods for important diseases will be refined and incorporated in the cultivar development program. Variety yield trials will be assessed under various production methods, including tolerance to high water tables.
This research relates to inhouse objective 2: Develop better agronomic practices for the Florida sugarcane industry.
During the last five years the ARS Florida breeding program at Canal Point made at least 600 crosses annually producing a low of 140,000 seeds in 2009 to well over 600,000 in 2011 for use in Florida. At least, 70,000 seedlings were planted annual to initiate the selection and development of Sugarcane cultivars for Florida. As a result of the program during the five year period of this agreement 14 CP sugarcane cultivars were released for the Florida Sugarcane Growers and will offer them different choices for commercial production. Most of the newly released cultivars are resistant to orange rust.