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From the Director's Desk ....

New research initiative

The Institute has released 28 varieties since 2000, apart from a large number of varieties released by other Sugarcane Research Stations / Institutes for commercial cultivation in different agro-climatic zones of sugarcane in the country. In spite of that the sugarcane varietal replacement rate is very slow. The requirement of a huge quantity of seed (6–8 t/ha) seems to be the main reason for slow replacement of sugarcane varieties. To overcome this problem the Institute has initiated a program on development of hybrid varieties, which will be propagated through true seed. Success of this program will lead to change in mode of transportation of seed (for planting a hectare) from truck to pocket.

New Technology

Keeping in mind the likely to be faced situations in future, the Institute has developed an integrated sugarcane cultivation model called “Settling Transplanting Technology (STT) - Future of Sugarcane Agriculture”. The STT is being popularised in different states in the country.

The objective is to increase the productivity of sugarcane and sugar (varieties and improved cultural practices), reduction in preparatory tillage and seed costs (multiple ratooning), reduction in input costs (settling transplanting and Drip irrigation/fertigation, trash mulching), increased water and nutrient use efficiencies (Drip irrigation with fertigation and trash mulching), reduction in labour requirement (wider row planting and mechanization of cultural operations from planting to harvesting) and intermittent and additional income to farmers (intercropping).

Participatory research

In an effort to have better collaboration with sugar industries in the state of Tamil Nadu, a programme on “Enhancing Sugar Productivity in Tamil Nadu through Institute-Industry Participatory Approach” (Sweet Bloom) was initiated, with funding by SISMA-TN, during October 2016.

As an outcome of this Public – Private participatory programme, Co 11015 was identified as a short duration clone, which has been recommended for release and notification in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the CVRC meeting held on October 4, 2019. Adoption of Co 11015 would lead to better sugar recovery and higher cane yields in the Tamil Nadu state. The 2nd set of 17 clones is under evaluation in 8 sugar mill areas.

Realising the success of the Sweet Bloom project, the Commissioner of Sugar, Government of Tamil Nadu has also agreed to join the varietal evaluation programme during 2018 and 21 elite clones are being evaluated at 6 cooperative sugar mills in different agro-climatic zones in the state.

The Institute has signed a MoU with the VSI, Pune for conducting collaborative research. As one of such activities, experiments are being conducted with 17 water stress tolerant sugarcane clones evolved at the Institute at VSI, Pune and 4 sugar mills (Kopargaon, Jalna, Newasa and Nanded) in Marathwada region of the Maharashtra state. At the end of 1st year trial Co 85019, Co 98017, Co 14005, Co 06022 and Co 92020 were found promising. Second year trials (ratoon and plant crops) are in progress during 2019-20 season.

The Institute has also signed a MoU with the SNSI, Belgavi for evaluating elite sugarcane clones and helping in micro-propagation. As an outcome of the collaborative programme, Co 18024 has been identified as a clone better than zonal check Co 86032. Co 18024 has been included for further evaluation under AICRP(S) in Peninsular Zone, Tamil Nadu state under Sweet Bloom project and MLT for northern Karnataka region. Evaluation of non-flowering and water stress tolerant clones supplied by the Institute is in progress during 2019-20 season.

The Institute has collaborated with the TNAU, Coimbatore for identification of location specific varieties suitable for different agro-climatic regions of the Tamil Nadu state. Two varieties, namely Co 0212 (midlate maturing) and Co 06022 (early maturing), have been released and notified in the state during last 5 years of trials.

The sugar industry and the farmers have shown faith in varieties evolved by the Institute. As a result, a large number of private sugar mills have shown their interest in conducting varietal evaluation trials under local conditions. The Institute has signed 17 MoUs with private sugar mills (13 in UP, 1 in Bihar, 1 in Haryana, 1 in MP and 1 in Andhra Pradesh for identifying location specific varieties.

Sugarcane as energy crop: The Institute has developed a number of Type I and Type II energy canes. Possibilities of exploiting these clones for co-generation, paper and hydrogen production are being explored. The lab analysis at TNPL indicated suitability of energy canes for paper production. Signed a MoU with M/s KPIT Technologies Ltd., Pune for assessing the suitability of energy canes for hydrogen production.

Publications: Apart from the spread of Institute’s technologies, number of publications also is an indicator of judging the impact of any organisation. Out of 539 research articles published in peer reviewed journals during the last 5 years, 207 research articles were published in journal of NAAS rating of ≥6.

Another criterion of evaluating any organization is the awards / recognitions / felicitations etc. conferred on its staff members. A total of 52 awards / recognitions / felicitations etc. are conferred on the Institute and its scientific staff, including Cashless ICAR Institute Award, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award, Haryana Vigyan Ratna Award, NAAS Fellowship (3), NAAS Associateship, Sir TS Venkataraman Award, etc.

Surveys

Surveyed the Marathwada Region to see the effect of drought on sugarcane and other crops during May 16-18, 2016

Surveyed the Tamil Nadu state to see the effect of drought on sugarcane and other crops during December, 2016

Organised a survey on the damage caused by the Gaja Cyclone in the Tamil Nadu state involving all concerned ICAR Institutes

Patents / Registration of varieties / Genetic Stocks / Gene Sequences

  1. Design patent for Quatro Sugarcane Single Bud Cutter in the name of ICAR-SBI, Regional Centre, Karnal (No. 76161 dated 12.06.2019)
  2. Registration of Varieties with PPV&FRA, New Delhi: Co 0018, Co 0237, Co 0238, Co 0403, Co 05011 (5)
  3. Registration of Genetic Stocks with ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi: 99WL379
  4. Gene Sequences: 1,107

Technologies Commercialised

  1. Soil Moisture Indicator (7 firms)
  2. Sett Treatment Device
  3. Settling Transplanter (2 firms)
  4. Quatro Sugarcane Single Bud Cutter
  5. Sugarcane Detrasher

Documents compiled

  1. Scientist’s Profile 2014
  2. QRT report of the Institute
  3. VISION 2050 of the Institute
  4. Principal Investigator’s Report (Varietal Improvement Programme and Plant Pathology discipline) 2014-15 to 2018-19 of the AICRP(S)
  5. Agenda Notes and Status of Centre State Coordination in Agricultural Research, Education and Extension, of ICAR Regional Committee No. VIII, for 25th and 26th meetings
  6. Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022 – Strategy Document for Tamil Nadu (As Convener)
  7. Morphological Description of Coimbatore (Co) Canes (1993-2016)

Organisation of Seminars / Symposium / Workshops / Conferences / Meetings

The Institute has organised 3 National Seminars, one international symposium, one ISSCT Pathology Workshop, 3 interactive meetings, one interactive workshop of Indo-Australian project, meeting of Australian (SRA) delegate with the Secretary, DARE and DG, ICAR on April 27, 2017, 2 Regional Committee Meetings and one Review Meeting of the Regional Committee, interactive sessions on the use of KRISHI and ICAR-ERP System

International Visits:

A total of 10 scientists visited foreign countries to participate in seminars, under Endeavour Research Fellowship Programme, Netaji Subhas ICAR International Fellowship etc.

Education

M.Sc. (Sugarcane Technology), in ODL mode) course was implemented in collaboration with TNAU, Coimbatore

Organized an ICAR Sponsored 10-days Short Course on “Techniques in Insect Molecular Biology and Toxicology” was organized during September 07-16, 2016.

Organized a Winter School on “Biotechnological and conventional approaches for biotic and abiotic stress management in sugarcane” during December 7-27, 2016.

Organized 7 lectures by international and national scientists of repute for the benefit of scientists of the Institute

Extension activities

Developed eganna mobile app on sugarcane, in 3 languages, was initiated and the same will be completed during April, 2017

Six video films on New Sugarcane Varieties, Seed Production in Sugarcane, Integrated Disease Management, Integrated Pest Management, Integrated Nutrient Management and Ratoon Management were produced in trilingual

Organized five ‘Kisan Mela’ at the headquarters and its Regional Centre at Karnal

A total of 30 training programmes (1 to 6 days) were organized for sugar factory personnel, sugarcane farmers and state government officials.

Developed about 1000 Sugarcane Farmer Leaders from 13 sugar mills in the state of Tamil Nadu through training. Their services will be utilised by the sugar mills while conducting village / block level ‘Farmers Meetings.

Three Seed Day were organized for seed growers and sugar factory personnel

R&D Meetings:

Organized and conducted 7 Research & Development Workers of Cane Development personnel of Tamil Nadu, Southern Karnataka and Northern Karnataka states

Other activities

Organized ICAR Sports Meet (Southern Zone) at Coimbatore during October 9 – 13, 2017

Settling Transplanting Technology was demonstrated in Gayatri Sugars, Kamareddy (Telangana) on 27.12.2018 and Sakthi Sugars Ltd., Appakudal on 7.2.2019

Government’s flagship programmes

The Institute has successfully implemented all Central Government flagship programmes including Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan, TSP, SCSP, Soil Health Cards etc.

Monitoring and evaluation

QRT reviewed the work of the Institute during 2009-10 to 2014-15 and has graded the ICAR-SBI as OUTSTANDING. It is for the 2nd consecutive time that the Institute has been graded as OUTSTANDING by QRT.

Once again I reiterate my invitation to all the sugarcane growers and sugar industry personnel to join hands with the ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute in finding solutions to the various threats posed to sugarcane cultivation in order to benefit the farming community.

Bakshi Ram
Director

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