Exploiting introgression for the development of productive and regionally adapted varieties for NSW : final report 2013/022
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This project aimed to explore sugar cane variety improvement opportunities available through introgression in relation to 2-year cropping, temperate cane growing conditions of NSW and frosting. It provided an opportunity to review the NSW selection program that has been operating since early 2000.Traditionally, the top 25 performing clones from the NSW 1-year program would enter the NSW 2-year program for testing as a 2-year cane. In this project, selected introgression clones from project BSS344 plus varieties imported from the USA were directly included in the NSW 2-year selection program without first being tested in the 1-year program. These clones plus current commercial varieties were also included in frost observation plots for assessment for frost tolerance.Saccharum spontaneum introgression clones were the most successful group to fast-track directly into the NSW 2-year program. One S. spontaneum introgression clone (SRAW18) was released to NSW growers in 2019/20 and it is highly likely that another S. spontaneum introgression clone will be released in 2020/21. Erianthus arundinaceus introgression clones and varieties from the USA generally did not perform well.For the three years (2015-2017) the frost observation plots were monitored there were relatively few nights with temperatures below freezing (0°C), the coldest being -0.9°C on 9th August 2017. The light frost events resulted in no/little differentiation between clones and negatively impacted the selection of NSW clones for release and use as parents for the crossing program.Based on results from this project, the NSW selection program was modified and will place further emphasis on introgression material for the 2-year program.