Introduction

Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) is an important cash crop of the Punjab province. It belongs to the family Poaceae and native of temperate humid to tropical regions of Asia. All sugarcane species interbreed and the major commercial cultivars are complex hybrids and products like table sugar, molasses and ethanol are directly obtained from sugarcane. The bagasse that remains after sugar cane crushing is burnt to provide heat and electricity. It is also utilized as raw material for paper, chipboard, and utensils, because of its high cellulose content. The sugarcane tops serve as fodder during scarcity of fodder period. The grower’s economy and viability of sugar industry is based on this crop. Sugarcane crop plays a pivotal role in our domestic economy next to cotton as a cash crop. It has 0.7% share to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the Punjab, during 2017-18 sugarcane was grown on an acre of 859.88 thousand hectares with production of 55.1 million tones and average cane yield 695 mounds/acre. 1 % yield has been decreased as compared to last year.  
The Sugarcane Research Station was established in 1934, in Lyallpur. Later on, this section was upgraded as Sugarcane Research Institute; Faisalabad in 1978.The Research work was focused on the main objectives of the evolution of high cane and sugar yielding, disease and insect pest’s resistant varieties besides, the development of improved production technology. 
The Annual Research Program is prepared to develop the research strategy for the coming crop year. The Research Program includes 49 experiments on various disciplines including Sugarcane Breeding (13), Agronomy (9), Pathology (10), Entomology (5) and Technology (2) ongoing trials including 10 new experiments in the current research year. The Sugarcane Breeding components includes collection of fuzz and cultivars, raising of seedlings, selection of seedlings, screening and selection of clones at various selection stages and varietal adaptability under different soil and climatic conditions. The research program work also includes cane flowering at Research Sub Station, Pail & Charapani, Murree. The Annual Program of Research Work for 2017-18 at Khanpur / Bahawalpur Stations includes 10 experiments.

Mission & Objectives

General 
  • Evolution of widely adaptable varieties having desired economic characters.
  • To develop package of production technology for optimum cane and sugar yield.
  • To evaluate varieties for higher sugar contents.
Specific 
  • To produce clones having desired parental characters and to raise seedlings for selection of elite clones.
  • To evolve varieties having high yield and quality potential for different soil and climatic conditions.
  • To evolve varieties resistant to insect pests, diseases, lodging, drought, frost and soil hazards.
  • To determine optimum planting and harvesting schedule of varieties to obtain maximum cane and sugar yield. 
  • To develop package of production technology to improve cane and sugar yield from plant and ratoon crop.
  • To find out most economical fertilizer doses for optimum yield.
  • To develop technology to minimize sugar losses during harvesting and processing of cane.

The research work pertaining to varietal evolution consists of various selection stages from growing of seedlings from the cane fuzz collected from different sources to the final stage of selection. The promising clones are tested in different phases of selection i.e. seedling, nursery, semi-final and final varietal trials.  The promising cultivars are further tested under different agro-ecological zones of the Punjab for their adaptability.  
The variety development program is based mainly on the imported germ plasm including fuzz and cultivars from Sri Lanka, Mauritius, West Indies, South Africa, canal Point (Florida) USA, Australia and local sources include the collection of open pollinated cane fuzz from Murree.
The work on wider row planting is being concluded and will be an adoptable system for cane mechanization in the province.  Studies on irrigation x fertilizer interaction with cane varieties are also important feature of research plan.  The work is being carried out on ratoon yield improvement besides the varietal behavior of ratooning.

In variety selection work, main emphasis is laid on disease resistance/tolerance.  The studies have helped to give information on reaction of promising lines to various insects. Identified new strains of Red Rot and evaluated resistant lines/clones against the strains.
The low sugar recovery and cane yields of the province can be improved with the introduction of high quality new germ-plasm and advance production technology.