FIBRE STRENGTH: Sarah Barber, Anne-Louise Slack, Michael OShea and Roy Parfitt.
FIBRE STRENGTH: Sarah Barber, Anne-Louise Slack, Michael OShea and Roy Parfitt. Mike Knott

Sweet opening for new Bundy research facility

SUGAR cane has a long history in the Bundaberg region and yesterday was one for the history books with the official opening of the Sugar Research Australia facility.

Growers and scientists alike attended the research facility open day to mark the occasion and check out the new home for SRA in the southern region.

Dr Jason Eglinton said there was research from  cloning to fibre analysis at the hub.

He said the breeding program  meant that local issues were being addressed at a local level.

"It's great to have a dedicated station that was built to be fit-for-purpose, you can walk around and see everything's got a place to live, the staff can physically see trials outside their office window so they're on top of them; there can be no excuses about them not knowing what's going on in the paddock," he said.

"And district best practice agronomic management with soil moisture probes, scheduled irrigation, really means that our field trials are reflecting best practice production and it's what we need to do as well."

Dr Eglinton said the Bundaberg station was also leading the work on fibre quality, with samples from outside Bundy coming here to be tested.

This all relates to how a variety processes when it gets into the mill.

"The equipment that we have here tests a number of those fibre quality parameters: the sheer strength of the fibre, the impact resistance of the fibre and the proportion of short fibre," he said.

One of the other new research paths being undertaken in Bundaberg is the NIR calibrations.

Dr Eglinton said they were working on teaching the NIR fibre quality traits to make it easier, more cost effective and potentially identify clones with problematic processing characteristics before they get out into a farmer's field.