SRA Media Release
3 September 2013
A Scientific Reference Panel, an independent group of expert plant scientists, has been appointed as part of the Solving Yellow Canopy Syndrome research project.
Led by Professor John Lovett, the Panel is responsible for providing supporting scientific opinion about the direction of the project and scientific support.
Professor Lovett said that the panel toured the Burdekin and Herbert cane-growing regions recently to assess YCS first-hand in the field.
“YCS is a complex condition and not something that the panel has seen before,” said Professor Lovett.
“In some fields it is wide-spread, yet in other fields the condition may only impact on rows of cane that sit either side of two completely unaffected rows.
“The panel has reviewed the SRA-led research project including the objectives, approach and science.”
“We agree that the project generally has the right focus,” he said.
“However, to maximise the type and number of research activities that can be done to find out what is causing this puzzling condition, we will recommend some adjustments.”
The $1 million research project – funded by the Sugar Research Development Corporation, The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Queensland and BSES Limited – has already suggested that any known systemic viral diseases, Sugar Cane Yellow Leaf virus, nutritional issues and chemical damage are unlikely causes.
Davey Olsen, research project leader, SRA said that as the project team tick off suspect causes they are able to expand their research approach and explore new avenues.
“The research team is currently focused on establishing monitoring sites in the affected areas and conducting soil sampling,” said Mr Olsen.
“Collecting data is an important part of helping us understand how the condition evolves and behaves. This data will guide our research direction and activities as we move forward.
“In conjunction with our project partners – Burdekin Productivity Services Limited (BPS) and Herbert Cane Productivity Services Limited (HCPSL) – we are also closely analysing the season’s harvesting information to determine the impact on this year’s yield and sugar.”
Media contact: Vanessa Sandhu, Communications Manager, Sugar Research Australia, 0419 175 815.
New YCS images are available on the Sugar Research Australia website