The Australian sugarcane industry and Queensland government have pooled their financial and scientific resources in a joint initiative to better understand and manage Yellow Canopy Syndrome (YCS).
The one-year research project Solving the Yellow Canopy Syndrome received a $500, 000 commitment from the Sugar Research Development Corporation (SRDC), $276 000 from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Queensland (DAFFQ) and $200,000 from BSES Limited (BSES).
"The short timeframe it took to gain funding and support reflects the importance industry and government place on this issue," said SRDC executive director, Annette Sugden.
The project will be supported by an Industry Stakeholder Group, a Scientific Research Panel, productivity service groups and other research organisations.
"Last year we committed an additional $4.6 million over four years to BSES for sugarcane research to help boost yields and importantly, to identify and find solutions to production risks such as Yellow Canopy Syndrome," said Queensland Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, John McVeigh.
"My department has valuable expertise in remote sensing applications to manage cane yield variability and make yield predictions at regional and field scales.
"This experience will undoubtedly assist the YCS project and enable easier identification of affected cane and provide information about the spread of the condition," McVeigh said.
BSES chairman, Paul Wright, said "Reports from pre-crush investigations indicate that cane which shows symptoms consistent with YCS could have less sugar. This means less profit for growers and millers this season. It is also likely that YCS could impact on ratoonability and future yields.
"It is only through a continued methodical and scientific approach that we will gain an accurate insight into YCS. We can then develop successful approaches to minimise its economic damage and get the industry back on track."
The project, which has already started, involves large-scale monitoring, sampling programs and data collection activities in the Herbert and Burdekin cane-growing districts.
These results will provide a comprehensive study of YCS over time, allowing supporting investigations to be undertaken as more becomes known about the condition.
"This issue has the potential to affect everyone in our industry, so it’s important that everyone remains informed about YCS, even if they have not seen it on their farm," said Wright.