Suitable sugarcane to diversify income and add value

Reference number
CRCNA funding
Total project value
Project length
3 years
Finish date
Project Status
Project Manager
Ian Biggs


  • The University of Queensland
  • Far Northern Milling Pty Ltd
  • Sugar Research Australia


This project is seeking identify and develop new opportunities for diversification for sugarcane growers and millers in tropical Far North Queensland by examining options to:

  • increase the total biomass production per unit land area by screening diverse genotypes and other crops
  • retain close to current sucrose production but increase the total carbon production (more fibre and molasses or cane juice; and 
  • add-value to the fibre, molasses and tops of the sugarcane plant.

In addition to testing new 'energycane' varieties, researchers will also trial the use of sorghum as a perennial feedstock option for mills and growers.

Researchers expected to use the data gathered from these trails to identify the 'best bet' diversification options and sustainable business models to inform future industry investment and planning.

Expected outcomes

  • Develop a comprehensive chemical profile of the sugarcane plant (stem and leaves) for both current commercial varieties and atypical germplasm that are well suited for biomass production, and diversification opportunities.
  • A comprehensive analysis of the chemical composition of sorghum to determine how it can complement the sugarcane biomass supply.
  • A diversification model for all sugarcane production areas that wish to diversify their income streams from sugarcane.