RB varieties: a major contribution to the sugarcane industry in Brazil
In the 2015/2016 cane crushing season in Brazil 650 Mtof sugarcane was processed from about 9Mha. Six states played a key role in this production;São Paulo with 53% of the national cane production, followed by Goiás (10%), Minas Gerais (9%), Paraná (7%), Mato Grosso do Sul (7%) and Alagoas (4%).68% of the sugarcane area was grown with RB varieties, which were originally developed by the former PLANALSUCAR,now named RIDESA. In the last 45 years (1970-2015), 94 RB varieties have beenreleased. RB72454 was the largest contribution from PLANALSUCAR to Brazilian agriculture because it had broad adaptation to different climatesand soils, and was parent of 25 other commercial varieties. Some other varieties from PLANALSUCAR/RIDESA portfolio are also noteworthy. RB855156 is the earliest maturing variety of all cultivars in Brazil, with high cane quality in the first months of harvest in the Brazilian central-south region. RB867515 is the best adapted variety for marginal environments, and was25% of harvested area in 2015. RB92579 is adapted to the northeast region, producing 30-40% more cane than other varieties in that region and it is also highly responsive to irrigation. RB966928 shows suitability for mechanization harvesting and planting due to its agronomic traits, especially its ratooning ability. In 2015 the variety census for São Paulo state indicated the four most planted varieties were RB966928 (18%), RB867515 (16%), RB92579 (10%) and RB855156 (7.8%), indicating the ongoing importance of RIDESA varieties in coming years.RIDESA released 16 new varieties in 2015;each of these may contribute to differentenvironmental conditions, including variability in maturity time, and resistance to major diseases. RIDESAhopes tomaintain genetic diversity and continue to contributeto increased yields inthe Brazilian sugarcane crop. RB varieties: a major contribution to the sugarcane industry in Brazil.