Submitted to: Sugar Journal
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 25, 2010
Publication Date: July 20, 2010
Citation: White, W.H. 2010. Breeding for sugarcane borer resistance in Louisiana. Sugar Journal. 73:16. Technical Abstract: Growing resistant varieties is a key component of the Integrated Pest Management Program for managing the sugarcane borer in Louisiana; however, the release of resistant varieties to growers is sporadic. The challenge facing the Louisiana industry is how to increase resistance in its varieties without encumbering the Louisiana sugarcane variety program with another selection trait. Breeding with borer-resistant parental material provides a means of increasing resistance without placing a burden on the variety programs as the progeny from such crosses will likely have resistance. For 23 years we have been identifying sugarcane borer resistant parents and crossing these to borer-susceptible varieties. Unfortunately, we have not released a sugarcane borer resistant variety from this initiative. The reason for our failure is two-fold. First, although we have found that the progeny from resistant crosses are statistically just as likely to be advanced in the variety program as progeny from non-resistant crosses too few seedlings derived from resistant crosses are being planted. Therefore, fewer clones were given permanent variety assignments in the commercial program and these selections are dropped in later stages. Second, the selection rate of progeny from resistant crosses is too low. Not only must we increase the number of crosses that have a resistant parent, but also increase the selection rate within those crosses in the early stages of selection. However, the increased selection rate must be done in the early stages of selection and not later. Even without increased yield potential, new varieties may lower costs of production because improved milling, agronomic, and/or yield stability. Resistance to the sugarcane borer can provide yield stability and thus an emphasis for increasing the number of resistance crosses in both the USDA and LSU breeding programs.