Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 31, 2007
Publication Date: September 2, 2007
Citation: Comstock, J.C. 2007. Florida's sugarcane industry and the role of the USDA-ARS Sugarcane Field Station. Meeting Abstract. Technical Abstract: Florida’s sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) industry of 420,000 acres produces 1.9 million tons of sugar annually, approximately 20 percent of the yearly sugar consumption in the United States. Canal Point sugarcane cultivars produced by the cooperative program of the USDA-ARS, the University of Florida, and the Florida Sugar Cane League currently occupy 97% of the acreage in Florida and substantial acreage in several Central American countries. A recent study showed that the long-term commercial sugar yields in Florida were significantly improved and had a yearly increase of 0.10 ± 0.01 Mg ha-1 over the 33 year period (1968 to 2000) evaluated. The purpose of this presentation is to identify common and unique research needs of the Florida and Louisiana sugarcane industries. In particular, specific cultivars are required in Florida that are adapted to its organic and sand soils, environmental conditions and biotic and abiotic stresses in order to maximize yields. The USDA-ARS Sugarcane Field Station’s research emphasizes improving methodology in the cultivar development program by integrating approaches using genomics and molecular markers with traditional genetics. Soils and agronomic research address microbial oxidation of organic soils, methodology of detecting microbial oxidation of carbon in these organic soils and amendments to sand soils and green cane harvest. Integrated agronomic and genetic research addresses cold, shallow water-table tolerance, and traits for identifying high yields on sand soils. Integrated research in pathology and breeding stresses disease resistance and determining pathogenic variation in sugarcane brown and orange rust pathogens. The sugarcane genetic diversity achieved by this program and the resultant high-yielding, disease-resistant cultivars have contributed substantially to the success of the Florida sugarcane industry and the $2 billion annual indirect impact it has on the state’s economy.