Duplication of photoperiodic initiation facility at BSES : SRDC final report BSS218
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Partnership-funded research by SRDC and BSES has resulted in excellent flowering being obtainable in populations of parental sugarcanes that flowered reluctantly, or never, under natural conditions at BSES Meringa. This improved flowering was obtained using plant management and initiation techniques developed in this research, using the BSES photoperiod facility (PF) commissioned in 1986. The objective of this project, an infrastructure proposal, was simple in that duplication of the existing PF was proposed. A project manager was engaged to facilitate the project. Essentially, the existing PF was duplicated. Changes to the design were made to minimise costs, and improve functionality. The concrete slab was simplified and the front portal frame design modified to allow installation of three normally-rolled roller doors. A new generation control system, based on direct digital controllers was installed. A prolonged and intense monsoonal season, coupled with delays in the delivery of key components and unforeseen time required for commissioning of the control system, resulted in a delayed start to the initiation regime on 9 October 1999. Once in-house expertise had been acquired to allow complete checking of the controller functions, and misinterpreted operational specifications corrected, the PF operated fully as expected. As a consequence of these factors the implementation of the first initiation regime was less than satisfactory. The level of initiation achieved fell well below that possible. Ten clones produced 97 panicles, with the number per clone ranging from 1 to 68, the latter being produced by the clone Mandalay, a S. spontaneum clone originating from Myanmar. The duplicated PF is a state-of-the-art facility that is now fully operational after debugging during the first, delayed operational run. The facility is committed to the CP2002 funded project BSS219 for five years.