Haryana: Karnal breeding centre all set to introduce 2 varieties of sugarcane


Scientists of the ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, regional centre, Karnal, are working on two new early sowing high-yielding commercial varieties of sugarcane, giving the cane farmers a reason to rejoice.

As per the available information, both the varieties are in the pipeline and it is expected that ‘Co 16034’ variety might be made available to the farmers right before the sowing season in September this year.

But for the other variety, they will have to wait for one more year and there is a possibility that ‘Co 17018’ will be released in October 2023.

Even the newly released ‘Co 15023’, which is also called the ‘super early variety’, has evoked a good response from the farmers as it can be planted during summer and spring months, but not in autumn.

The development has come as a big relief for the sugarcane growers as they had to suffer losses due to sudden pest attacks in the largely grown ‘Co 0238’ variety.

Dr G Hemaprabha, director, ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore, said these varieties are in the pipeline and there is a possibility that ‘Co 16034’ will be released in September this year while the other variety will be released in October 2023 if the remaining research work is completed well within time and as per the expectations.

She said that both the varieties are early sowing and high-yielding ones and these varieties may prove the best replacement for ‘Co 0238’ in the coming years.

Hemaprabha, who recently visited sugarcane breeding institute said another new variety ‘Co 15023’ has also been released already and evoked a great response due to its higher sucrose values.

On increasing pest attacks, fungal infection and disease in the farmer-friendly ‘Co 0238’, she said that monoculture is the main reason behind the diseases in this variety. “This variety has dominated around 90% of the total sugarcane cultivation against the recommended 60%. Still it is farmers’ variety and now we have noticed a decline in the diseases this year as farmers should also maintain a balance in different varieties,” she added.

As per agriculture experts and people associated with the sugarcane industry, new varieties were the need of the hour as farmers had to suffer losses in the past two years due to pest attacks.

SK Pandey, head of the ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute in Karnal, said these new varieties are on the top in the pipeline and some research work and compilation of the data from different centres is still pending. He said it takes 13 years to research, develop and release a new variety, but there is a demand for new varieties from the sugar industry and farmers.

He said the data related to the new ‘Co 16034’ variety will be shared in the next meetings to be held at Coimbatore and later, such a meeting will be held at Lucknow in October to finalise the release of the first variety.

The ‘Co 0238’ variety developed by the scientists of this institute proved a major breakthrough in the history of sugarcane cultivation as it helped the farmers to earn double profit without any increase in the input cost. But in the past couple of years, this variety is under severe pest attack and leading to a 50% fall in the yield.

Now, the new varieties developed by this institute may bring a new ray of hope for the farmers.

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