The search for the cause of Yellow Canopy Syndrome marches on with new research actions

21 October 2013
SRA Media Release

Existing field trials have been extended, and new field trials and laboratory tests introduced to continue the search for the cause of Yellow Canopy Syndrome, a condition affecting some cane-growing regions in northern Queensland. 

The trials and tests, conducted within the Solving the Yellow Canopy Syndrome research project funded by Sugar Research Australia and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Queensland (DAFFQ), are building upon the knowledge gained about the condition over the last few months said Mr Davey Olsen, research project leader.

“With our project partners–Herbert Cane Productivity Services Limited, Burdekin Productivity Services Limited and DAFFQ–we have ruled out a number of things that are unlikely to cause the condition, including known diseases, common viruses and nutritional issues,” said Mr Olsen.

“Collectively the new set of trials and tests will pay attention to how the condition is transmitted, whether it can be managed using every day standard practices and whether some causes, which we haven’t investigated, may trigger it.”

Key trial and test activities include:

  • Determining whether YCS can be transmitted in plant source material and soil.
  • Evaluating whether water stress intensifies the symptoms of YCS.
  • Testing whether applying insecticide, improving root conditions and using cold-soak hot water treatment reduce the symptoms of YCS.
  • Investigating whether insects other than linear bugs cause YCS.
  • Determining if YCS is caused by soil fungi or nematodes.
  • Identifying whether grasses other than sugarcane are susceptible to YCS.

The monitoring of affected sites in the Herbert and Burdekin cane-growing regions will continue to assess the severity of YCS across a range of varieties in young plant and ratoon cane.

“Our field trials, laboratory work and monitoring sites are critical to understanding this condition better,” said Mr Olsen.

“The data collected from this year’s harvest showed that the impact of YCS on Commercial Cane Sugar(CCS)–a measure of recoverable sugar in the cane, improved as the season progressed. However, we have not reached a conclusion about its impact on yield, other than in severely affected fields where yields were significantly reduced.

“The SRA research team and our project partners continue to work on this vital industry issue as a priority.”

Media contact: Vanessa Sandhu, Communications Manager, Sugar Research Australia, 0419 175 815.

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