Itchy Grass: Predicted 43% Drop in Sugar Production

Rottoboellia in cane
Rottoboellia amongst sugar cane
The anti-Government blog Fiji Today reports that  a weed is infesting cane farms in the Nadi area. The weed is nearly a metre tall, has sharp thorns  and can only be handled with gloves on. The Sugar Industry Research Institute —that so far has received  no  information from farmers about the weed—  thinks it may be Rottoboellia that will need to be cut out and  sprayed with Veltar K4 to destroy it  for good.   Meanwhile, Fiji Today has predicted a possible “43% drop in sugar production.” They are clearly advised by a  statistician who is a probability genius. 
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Comments

FijiToday said…
The 43% drop in sugar production comes from an independant report on untreated inchgrass in sugar at ..... http://www.jstor.org/pss/3987449
Croz Walsh said…
Good. You've supplied a reference. But the 20 year-old study cites US season-long losses ranging from 37 to 43%. Not much difference perhaps but you chose the upper figure.
The unconfirmed Fiji occurrence you report is confined to a part of Nadi and the authorities seem unaware of it. At present it does not constitute a major threat to the Fiji sugar industry, as you implied.
Fiji Today is the most reasonable of the anti-Bainimarama blogs. I hope you keep it that way and don't tread the downward slope of Coup4.5. If your postings were not always so negative, I think your blog's contribution would be so much more useful. Best wishes.
FijiToday said…
There are two other similar trials on the net.

It has since been confirmed as itchgrass. The problem with itchgrass is its ability to spread rapidly. Unless a termite type program is put in place it will be spread by trucks and rail during the next harvest season. Cutting and pulling is not enough but the chemical required to eradicate it is expensive and probably beyond the means of most canefarmers. Irrespective of politics this is a major threat to future cane production and action is required urgently to eradicate it.

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