Location: Sugarcane Production Research
2009 Annual Report
The Florida sugarcane development program requires at least nine years to develop a commercial cultivar from the time a cross is made. In the 2008/2009 crossing season, 559 crosses using 922 female tassels were made and used by ARS in the Florida breeding program. An additional 459 crosses using 962 female tassels were divided among the ARS Florida program, the ARS Louisiana program, or the Texas A&M breeding program. In total, more than 250,000 seeds were developed. Approximately 140,000 seeds were developed for use in Florida. Selections were advanced through Stages 2 and 3 based on criteria such as high sucrose content, high cane yields, disease resistance or tolerance, and general adaptability. In the final stage, Stage 4, selections were evaluated in the plant-cane, first-ratoon, and second-ratoon crops on farms of ten cooperating growers. In Stage 4, one of eight locations with a muck soil was replaced by a location with a sand soil, resulting in seven locations with muck soils and three with sand soils.
Progress was monitored by several meetings between ARS personnel at Canal Point and personnel representing the Florida Sugar Cane League as well as at two formal meetings of the “Florida Sugarcane Variety Committee” which reviews progress from Stages 2 through 4. Three employees of the Florida Sugar Cane League are located at the USDA-ARS facility at Canal Point.