The Research and Development Department plays a crucial role in ensuring the sustainability of the business. R&D was established well before the commissioning of the sugar factory in 1974 to conduct and promote applied research on different disciplines, mainly:
- Breeding and selection for continuous development of elite new varieties able to produce sugar at low cost.
- Variety diversification to safeguard environmental hazards.
- Search for alternative crops such as sugar beet.
The base plan includes proper selection of parents, efficient cross pollination, and efficient seed sowing techniques to produce as much hybrid seedlings as possible.
- Differential fertilizer response of sugarcane varieties (N, P and trace elements).
- Balanced nutrient approach.
- Optimum cultural practice.
- Intensive investigations on changes in weed flora.
- Herbicides screening for weed control.
- Flowering control to save yield losses.
- Ripener’s application to improve cane quality.
- Research strategy for striga eradication.
Pathology & Entomology
- Rigid quarantine measures to safeguard entry of pests or diseases.
- Intensive screening of varieties for prevention and control through the use of immune – diagnostics.
- Intensive pest and disease surveys for earliest detection of build up..
- Biological control for major insect pests.
- Water adequacy and equity.
- Reduction of runoff.
- Improvement of water use efficiency.
- Water application efficiency and management capacity.
- Measurement of the pre-harvest cane quality.
- Measurement of cane losses at harvest.
- Measurement of crop stands (gaps).
- Investigations on oil and grain crops.
Management of Industrial By-products
- Conversion of cane trash filter cake, vinasse into eco-friendly bio-fertilizers & co-generation.
- Adoption of organic farming to produce organic products.
- Making sugar industry environmentally sound.
- Other research activities.
- Oil, leguminous and grain crops.
- Development of suitable implements for sugarcane and other crops.
- Farm machinery management.
Some of Research and Development achievements include:
- Continuous breeding and development of improved sugarcane varieties.
- Optimization of harvest age within planting dates of commercial and pre-commercial varieties for maximum sugar yield.
- Introduction of the fallow system in sugarcane cropping.
- Development of effective and economical weed management strategies.
- Development of insecticides used for control of termites.
- Intensive pest and disease surveys in the estate.
- Application of filter mud as an organic fertilizer.