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Sugar Cane varieties and their role in sugar quality

There are other factors at play when it comes to sugar cane quality. One of those is sugar cane varieties. Presently, farmers manage a few of these, but a majority is growing one particular type of sugar cane. While this is considered a good variety, being able to endure weather changes for the most part, it is posing some challenges. BSI on the other hand has been growing another variety that has helped it to top the results of the quality testing. Regel Cal, Cane Farmer Relation Officer explains.

Regel Cal, Cane Farmer Relation Officer:“BSI has plenty of varieties which start to harvest as the crop starts in December they start to harvest these cane and these are high in sugar at that time. So while most farmers have the B79 which is a mid to late variety at this time in December January the B79  tends to have a lot of water so whenever the farmers are taking their cane they are not taking quality cane unlike BSI.”

It would seem that the cane variety that matures early in the crop would be the way to go for all farmers. Adrian Zetina, Research and Development Chief says not so. As is, he says, too many farmers are growing the B79 variety.

Regel Cal, Cane Farmer Relation Officer: “Variety plays a very big role in the maturity of the cane, there are some cane that mature earlier which we call early maturing varieties, there are some cane that mature in the mid season, about now which is the mid maturing variety and then we have the late maturing varieties. This is precisely why we use this type of equipment. If we have two or three varieties that are mid maturing and we are not sure which one is the ripest we can bring them in an compare at what point it is in its maturity.”

Reporter: Can you state what is the majority, or what type of variety are most farmers bringing in?

Regel Cal, Cane Farmer Relation Officer: “Most farmers are bringing in B79 474 which is a very good variety, there is just one issue with it in that we just have too much of it, it’s covering about 55% of the surface area that we have right now. That presents us with two problems, that presents us with A, we can’t harvest all of the crop 55% of it because it is a mid maturing variety in March/April that is impossible we just cannot do that. It also presents a bigger problem being that it is a very big disease risk if a disease is to enter and B79 is particularly susceptible to it almost half of the industry is gone. That is what we do here in BSI, we focus a lot on variety development and we are seeing a lot of very good varieties coming out. What we want and encourage farmers to do is try new varieties to begin to replace B79.”