Bob Aitken illustrates to Lower Clarence Valley cane- growers the potential problem of sugar cane smut disease.
Bob Aitken illustrates to Lower Clarence Valley cane- growers the potential problem of sugar cane smut disease.

Crackdown on ?smut

By RODNEY STEVENS

CONCERNED canegrowers are being encouraged to plant 'smut' resistant varieties to combat the latest threat to their crops.

A meeting held yesterday at the Palmers Island property of NSW Canegrowers Association president Vince Castle provided information to cane farmers regarding the lastest menace to their crops, sugar cane smut disease.

Facilitated by senior extension officer of BSES limited, Bob Aitken, the meeting addressed sugar cane smut disease in relation to what is happening at the latest outbreak in Queensland, what farmers can look for in their own crops, what varieties are susceptible, and what is being done to minimise its impact.

Mr Aitken said growers should make plans and look at what resistant varieties were available.

"Some of the resistant varieties are amongst our most productive ones," he said.

Mr Castle said going into one variety in a big way was risky as it may be avoiding one problem but make the crop more susceptible to another.

"I think we should spread the risk by reducing the planting of susceptible varieties and increasing the planting of non susceptible varieties to balance out the risk," he said.

One concerned Lower Clarence canegrower told The Daily Examiner that nearly all of his farm had susceptible varieties of cane.

Interested growers can attend a similar meeting to be held at Andrew Fisher's shed on Chatsworth Island from 8am today.



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