Location: Sugarcane Field Station2010 Annual Report
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.
3. Progress Report
This research relates to inhouse objective 1. Develop more efficient breeding and selection methodologies for cultivar development and to produce seed of selected sugarcane germplasm for use in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. The Florida sugarcane development program at Canal Point requires at least 9 years to develop a commercial cultivar from the time a cross is made. In the 2009/2010 crossing season, 656 crosses using 1158 female tassels were used by ARS for the Florida breeding program. An additional 300 crosses using 594 female tassels were divided between the ARS Louisiana sugarcane program or the Texas A&M sugarcane breeding program with Canal Point. It is estimated that 319,985 seeds were developed as a result of these efforts for use at Canal Point. Selections in seedlings are advanced based on visual assessment of yield in conjunction with evaluation of sucrose content on a per cross basis. In Stage 1, selections were advanced based on visual assessment in conjunction with Brix analyses. In addition to production, visual assessments in Stage 1 also included resistance to rust pathogens. Selections were advanced through Stages 2 and 3 based on high sucrose content, high cane yields, disease resistance or tolerance, and general adaptability. In recent years, increasing emphasis has been placed on rust resistance in Stages 1 and 2. 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 3, three test locations had muck soils and one location had a sand soil. In Stage 4, seven test locations had muck soils and three had sand soils. Prior to Stage 3, all testing was conducted on muck soils at Canal Point. 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.” This committee also reemphasized the importance of testing all Stage 4 genotypes for freeze tolerance for 2 years near Gainesville, FL and reviewed practices involved in this testing. Three employees of the Florida Sugar Cane League are located at Canal Point and funding from this agreement is used to support several temporary ARS employees at Canal Point.