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Choice should be based on local experience and trial data. The farmer should consider the variety’s sugar yield potential, ability to ratoon, tolerance or resistance to pests and diseases, their soil type and site suitability and the length of the growing cycle.
Most varieties have an optimum CCS at a particular stage within the season and are usually classified as early, mid or late. Recent breeding efforts have concentrated on the development of early maturing varieties that maximize sugar production early in the harvest period. This is traditionally a period when sugarcane has not yet reached its peak maturity.
New varieties are selected based on their tolerance or resistance to a range of pathogens. This is the best way to minimize the influence of disease on the crop.
Where growers need to meet specific mill delivery timings, it is best to plant several varieties with different maturities to provide a spread of harvesting times and so maximize sugarcane yield across the whole season.
Varieties differ markedly in their response to nutrients, particularly nitrogen. Thus, it is important to test responses in trials and adjust crop fertilizer programs accordingly.