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Planting of transgenic sugarcane almost doubles in the new crop in Brazil, says CTC

The company estimates that the Bt varieties will be on 70,000 hectares of the 2022/23 crop, compared to 37,000 in the season just ended in the Center-South.

The Sugarcane Technology Center estimates that the area planted with GM sugarcane resistant to the borer will practically double in Brazil's new crop, which started this month in the center-south, as the sector is strengthened to invest in more productivity and sees biotechnology more available.

The leading sugarcane science company, which between 2017 and 2018 had the world's first genetically modified sugarcane approved for commercial use by regulatory bodies in Brazil and abroad, estimates that Bt varieties will be on 70,000 hectares of the 2022/23 harvest, compared to 37 thousand in the season just ended in the south-central.

Considering the total area of ​​sugarcane in Brazil, of 8.2 million hectares in the past harvest (2021/22), genetically modified sugarcane will still occupy a relatively small area, because the multiplication of varieties adapted to different types of soil is not so quickly as in the case of transgenic soybean and corn seeds.

But, with five years since the first approvals for the use of transgenic sugarcane resistant to insect attack, and with four commercial varieties that have confirmed results in the field, the expectation is for faster progress from now on, according to an assessment by a CTC executive , which has among its shareholders groups from the sector such as Raízen, Copersucar, São Martinho, in addition to BNDESPar.

“The producer first wants to see it to believe it, and he needs to have seedlings available to be able to grow. Now, having seedlings and results, both things allow him to be able to leverage”, said the commercial director of the CTC, Luiz Paes, in an interview with Reuters

Even today, CTC is the only company in the world to have genetically modified sugarcane technology available for commercialization on a commercial scale.

Paes explained that the first variety launched required planting in very good land, and that new transgenic sugarcanes placed on the market can now be planted in areas with more “restrictive” or bad soils, which encourages adoption.

Sugarcane resistant to the borer is considered an important ally of the producer, since the CTC estimates that the insect generates losses of 5 billion reais per year to the Brazilian industry, considering losses in agricultural and industrial productivity, sugar quality and insecticide costs. .

“In this area (with the transgenic sugarcane), the loss from the drill will be limited”, highlighted Paes.

The CTC is still researching herbicide-resistant transgenic sugarcane, and believes that the product may be available soon. “Possibly, the RR sugarcane in two more crops will be ready to launch”, said Paes, noting that the product would need to go through the entire regulatory rite, such as approval by the biosafety agency CTNBio.

The executive commented that the adoption of the technology by Brazilian mills ranges from Paraná to the Northeast, and that the CTC already has around 170 customers, who account for most of the country's crushing.

According to him, considering that the sector in general is in a better financial situation than in the past, amid good prices for sugar and ethanol, the expectation is for more investments in the renewal of sugarcane fields, which benefits the CTC, which charges royalties by technology.

“The improvement in the sectoros helps a lot”, he said, adding that, when the economic situation is bad, the producer reduces the sugarcane renewal rate, for example.

He commented that, of the sugarcane areas replanted annually, CTC usually has a market share of around 40%. On average, about 15% of sugarcane, a semi-perennial crop, is renewed every year.


Meanwhile, the CTC prepares new launches of conventional and super-productive varieties.

For the next harvest (2023/24), the product of the new 10,000 series should be available, which promises productivity of around 14 to 16 tons of sugar per hectare (TAH), a jump of about 30% compared to the varieties currently available. .

Taking into account the average productivity of the center-south of Brazil, the largest sugarcane region in the world, this index is even more expressive.

“For comparison purposes, we are talking about an average in the center-south below 10 tons per hectare in the last crop, which had a bad condition due to the drought,” said Paes, noting that under normal weather conditions the region achieves a yield above 10 TAH.

In order to achieve these goals, CTC has made investments in Research & Development of around 1 billion reais in recent years, advancing in new biostatistics tools that provide a better choice of parents to be used in crosses between the more than 5,000 varieties of sugarcane. its germplasm bank, the largest in the world.

According to the commercial director, at some point such varieties with greater productive potential may have transgenic technologies added, which would require a few years after the cane is launched, further strengthening the product (Reuters, 4/6/22)

FONTE: brasilagro


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