We are now starting to see real improvement in the 2020 crop with a steady increase in CCS and t/ha on a daily basis.

Having more than one variety with early and late CCS is important for the district.

The trials to determine which of the new and newer varieties are going to be early and late CCS in our various sub districts in Tully started in June and are going well with the cane tested from 10-14 months of crop age to develop a CCS curve trend, which relates to commercial harvest times.

In addition the pre harvest testing service to determine which variety has the higher potential CCS is still operating on request.

This sampling can also be used for seed cane for planting.

This time of year, with planting in full swing it can be useful to know the CCS level of seed cane as this can influence germination.

For instance if a variety is an early CCS, and the seed cane is 12 months old or more , the potential CCS in the cane stalks could be high and this may impact the concentration of growth hormones. These hormones are needed for germination of the new crop once planted. As the crop matures, CCS levels rise in the stalk from the base up and growth hormone concentration is reduced.

The process for testing potential CCS in seed cane is similar to pre harvest cane, we collect and crush 6 stalks of any variety in the field, collect the juice and using and a device called a hand held polarimeter, get a reading which is put through an online calculator supplied by SRA.

The main diffidence with seed cane testing is we cut the stalks in half and test the top and base separately to see how well distributed the CCS is in the stalk.

The reason cane tops always seem to germinate quickly is the growth hormone in plants always rises to the top, which is why pruning trees and garden plants makes them bushy, the growth hormone have to go sideways once the top is removed.

So while the process of CCS sampling with the mobile mill is similar, the reasons between commercial harvest testing and seed cane are different, we actually don’t want too much CCS in seed cane stalks because the growth hormones in the billet need to be active to make the new crop germinate.