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New planting technology to boost Australian sugarcane industry

A partially harvested sugarcane field
A partially harvested sugarcane field
New Energy Farms (NEF) and Sugar Research Australia (SRA) have entered into an agreement to undertake research into crop expansion technology (CEEDS) in the Australian sugarcane industry.
NEF is a crop technology company, established in 2010, to develop artificial seeds for crops that do not produce conventional seeds like sugarcane.
NEF developed and patented the CEEDS technology for the multiplication and planting of sugarcane crops worldwide.
CEEDS are small coated propagules directly drilled in the field like conventional seed. NEF has already licensed CEEDS for commercial sugarcane use in other key sugarcane markets including Brazil and Central America.
Testing will commence this season to evaluate the response of current and emerging Australian varieties in this production. Subsequent trials will examine germination, plant establishment and crop performance under a range of Australian production conditions.
“Establishing the crop is a major cost in sugarcane production. The value of just the sugarcane used for planting is around $25 million (€15.3 million) every year. New approaches in planting systems to release this industry value have been research topics before, but recent technological advances suggest it could now become a reality,” said SRA executive manager for variety development and processing, Dr Jason Eglinton.
“This work will produce an understanding of the benefits and costs of the technology to inform potential adoption pathways. CEEDS also offers indirect benefits including the ability for growers to more rapidly change their variety mix and control of issues such as Ratoon Stunting Disease.”
The agreement will allow NEF to provide SRA with patented CEEDS technology to produce artificial seeds for the current, and future, sugarcane varieties in the Australian market.

A partially harvested sugarcane field