Evaluating the potential for improved sugar yields by assessing the climatic and soil constraints to production in southern cane-growing districts
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This project conducted strategic research to better understand the processes of yield accumulation in low temperature NSW environments and to identify limits to yield. The fundamental knowledge gained in this project can be used to assess yield limitations and the scope for yield improvement. In addition, the findings are a pre-requisite to the design of management and genetic improvement strategies to boost production in southern sugarcane growing environments. An additional spin-off of this project is a better functional basis of the processes of yield accumulation encapsulated in the APSIM Sugarcane systems model to allow extrapolation of the findings more broadly across the sugar industry. An analysis framework was used to express sucrose yield in terms of biomass accumulation and the proportion on biomass present as sucrose. Crop biomass was analysed in terms of radiation capture and utilisation. Partitioning was examined in terms of the proportion of crop biomass present as stalk and the stalk sucrose concentration on a dry matter basis. Crops growing under "potential yield" conditions were analysed and compared to those growing under "commercial yield conditions".