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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Sugarcane Field Station

2009 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Develop new biomass-energy cultivars that are high-yielding and have adequate pest and disease resistance, and cold tolerance specifically adapted for areas outside the present EAA sugarcane production area.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Parental clones will be selected based on superior biomass yield with suitable fiber composition and content, suitable cold tolerance and pest and disease resistance. Crosses will be made to maximize and combine desirable traits and minimize undesirable traits based on sex of tassel, and availability of tassels. From these crosses the true seed will be germinated to produce approximately 8-10,000 sugarcane seedlings per year by scientists at the USDA-ARS Sugarcane Field Station. Seedlings will be transplanted to the field to select superior clones at Canal Point. From these seedlings approximately, 500-750 clones, which have superior vigor, and are free of diseases and growth defects, will be selected per year. These selected clones will be planted in Stage I plots at up to three locations of non-organic soils outside the present EAA at the decision of the Biomass-Energy Cultivar Committee. The committee will appoint one of its members to manage the test at each location. The Biomass-Energy Cultivar Committee will select from the Stage I clones, a set of 50-75 clones which have superior vigor, high stalk numbers and have no noticeable pest, disease, and growth defects to be advanced to Stage II trials at the same location. Eight stalks will be planted in un-replicated 2-row, 3-m plots at the same location and maintained and managed by a member appointed by the Biomass-Energy Cultivar Committee. The Stage II clones will be selected for agronomic vigor, growth characteristics, fiber and sugar content and composition, adequate disease and pest resistance, estimates of yield (based on stalk counts of the plot and the weight of a standard number of stalks) and other parameters determined by the Biomass-Energy Cultivar Committee. From the Stage II clones the top 10 to 20 clones will be advanced for yield testing in replicated yield trials at locations determined by the Biomass-Energy Cultivar Committee. The Stage III trials will be planted using three replications in two rows plots, 5 m long. The clones in the yield trials will be rated for agronomic traits and yield estimates, as indicated previously. Based on their plant crop yields, other agronomic characteristics, disease susceptibility, and visual observation of the growth superior clones will be selected for increasing in vegetative plots by the Sugarcane Energy Variety Committee. These clones will also be tested by ARS for their reaction to the major sugarcane diseases in Florida using standard procedures. Additional yield trials may be established by the Biomass-Energy Cultivar Committee. Superior clones will be selected for seedcane increase by either vegetative or by micro-propagation managed and coordinated by the FSCL and jointly released by the three cooperating agencies.

3. Progress Report
This research relates to Objective 1 of the parent project: 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. Six thousand five hundred seedlings derived from 29 crosses were planted and selected for possible sucrose and biomass production; of these 169 clones were selected for further biomass testing. From 7,000 seedlings planted the previous year, 110 clones were selected and are currently being evaluated for biomass production in field trials with two replications in two locations, one in North Florida and one in South Florida on sand soil; 13 clones from the same seedling population were advanced to Stage II for the regular sucrose program at Canal Point. Large yield trials of 16 more advanced biomass clones are also being evaluated in replicated trials at the same locations and disease screens of these 16 clones are being conducted at the Sugarcane Field Station. Progress was monitored by phone, email and onsite visits.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 10/15/2017
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