Two New Sugarcane Varieties Ready For Louisiana Farmers

Kenneth Gravois  |  4/27/2006 12:16:43 AM

News Release Distributed 04/26/06

Louisiana sugarcane farmers are going to have the opportunity to diversify their sugarcane crops with the release of two new sugarcane varieties.

The varieties, L 99-226 and L 99-233, were officially released Tuesday (April 25) for commercial planting in the fall of 2006, according to Dr. Kenneth Gravois, LSU AgCenter sugarcane breeder and resident coordinator of the AgCenter’s St. Gabriel Research Station. They came as the result of cooperative ventures involving the LSU AgCenter, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sugarcane Research Unit in Houma and the American Sugar Cane League in Thibodaux.

"These varieties are good news for Louisiana’s sugarcane growers and processors," Gravois said.

. "After hurricanes, stagnant prices and low sugar yields, the Louisiana sugar industry is in need of some good news, and new varieties with high yield potential and disease and insect resistance are always good news."

Sugarcane growers are looking for new sugarcane varieties to replace acreage devoted to LCP 85-384, which represented 89 percent of Louisiana’s sugarcane acreage in 2005. The increase of rust disease in LCP 85-384 is making growers uneasy, Gravois said.

"To avoid risks associated with monocultures, new varieties with comparable yield potential are an important step in the process," Gravois said. "L 99-226 and L 99-233 should provide growers with viable choices when selecting varieties to plant."

Data from variety tests comparing L 99-226 and L 99-233 with other commercial sugarcane varieties in 50 combine-harvested, replicated trials showed these two new varieties compare favorably with other varieties grown in Louisiana, Gravois said.

"L 99-226 had the highest sugar yield and sugar per ton of cane of any variety for all crops reported," said LSU AgCenter sugarcane breeder Dr. Keith Bischoff. "This new variety also had the highest cane yield – tonnage – in the plant cane and first stubble crops. The variety is characterized as having a moderate population of large diameter stalks."

Gravois said L 99-233 produced significantly higher sugar and cane yields than LCP 85-384. Its sugar per ton of cane is similar to LCP 85-384.

"This new variety is characterized as having a high population of small diameter stalks, very much like LCP 85-384," Gravois said. "L 99-233’s high cane yield in second stubble is an indication that the variety is an excellent stubbling variety."

Gravois said both new varieties tend to fall over when they reach maturity. Because of this tendency and their high cane yield, these varieties are better suited to combine harvesting systems, he explained.

Disease resistance is another important component of variety selection, and LSU AgCenter sugarcane pathologist Dr. Jeff Hoy said L 99-226 and L 99-233 are both moderately resistant to smut, moderately resistant to brown rust and moderately resistant to leaf scald under natural field infection.

"Both varieties are resistant to sugarcane mosaic virus and sorghum mosaic virus," Hoy said. "The effect of yellow leaf disease on the yield of both L 99-226 and L 99-233 is unknown."

Similar to all other varieties grown in Louisiana, these new varieties may sustain significant yield loss in stubble crops from ratoon stunting disease, Hoy said. To realize the maximum yield potential of these varieties, healthy seed cane, free of ratoon stunting disease, must be planted.

LSU AgCenter entomologist Dr. Gene Reagan said resistance to the sugarcane borer is necessary for reducing the number of insecticide applications, and L 99-226 is resistant to the sugarcane borer.

"A new sugarcane variety with resistance to the sugarcane borer is badly needed in the Louisiana sugar industry," Reagan said. "L 99-233 is susceptible to the sugarcane borer, and both new varieties should be scouted for timely insecticide applications. L 99-226 will provide an excellent choice for planting where insecticides cannot be applied."

In addition to the release of these new varieties, Gravois said growers have other good news on the horizon.

"The performance of three previously released sugarcane varieties – HoCP96-540, L 97-128 and Ho 95-988 – showed signs of promise as potential replacements for LCP 85-384," he said.

"Louisiana’s sugar industry has continually looked toward the public sector for the development of new varieties," Gravois added. "The arrival of new sugarcane varieties is a highly anticipated event. L 99-226 and L 99-233 should pay big dividends in the future for Louisiana’s growers and processors."

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Contacts:
Dr. Kenneth Gravois at (225) 642-0224 or kgravois@agcenter.lsu.edu
Dr. Keith Bischoff at (225) 642-0224 or kbischoff@agcenter.lsu.edu
Dr. Jeff Hoy at (225) 578-1464 or jhoy@agcenter.lsu.edu
Dr. Gene Reagan at (225) 578-1824 or treagan@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer:
Rick Bogren at (225) 578-5839 or rbogren@agcenter.lsu.edu

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