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Early harvest affects sugarcane ratooning ability in Louisiana
- The number of sugarcane processors in Louisiana has decreased over time forcing growers to begin the harvest season earlier for fear of complete cane loss at the end of the harvest period due to freezing temperatures as winter sets in. Experiments were conducted during 2004-2008 in Louisiana, USA to investigate effects of early harvest on ratooning ability and to determine differential effects of early harvest among four cultivars grown locally. Plant-cane cv. LCP 85-384, ho 95-988, hoCP 96-540, and L 97-128 were harvested on 1 October (early) and 1 December (mid-season). Averaged across all cultivars, the October harvest of plant-cane reduced sucrose yields (p = 0.01) of the first-ratoon (7.7 t/ha) compared to the mid-season harvest date (10.1 t/ha.). The sucrose yields for L 97-128 were 0.6, 3.0, and 3.9 t/ha greater (p = 0.01) than hoCP 96-540, LCP 85-384, and ho 95-988, respectively, for the early harvest. A second experiment was initiated to determine the effects of two consecutive years of early harvest (plant-cane and first-ratoon) on yields of the second-ratoon. Averaged across all cultivars, the October harvest of both plant-cane and first-ratoon reduced sugar yields (p = 0.01) of the subsequent second-ratoon (5.5 t/ha) compared to the December harvest (10.0 t/ha). For the October harvest, LCP 85-384, hoCP 96-540, and L 97-128 had significantly higher sugar yields (6.1, 5.6, and 6.6 t/ha), respectively, relative to ho 95-988 (3.6 t/ha). Both harvest dates for L 97-128 produced equivalent yields, indicating that this cultivar is best suited for early harvest. All cultivars had decreased yields with consecutive October harvests. It is currently suggested that growers should not harvest cane early in consecutive seasons because yields are reduced below the point of a positive return on input costs.
Viator, R.P. , Dalley, C.D. , Johnson, R.M. , Richard, E.P. Jr.
sugarcane , Saccharum , harvest date , winter , autumn , ratooning , cultivars , crop yield , plant stress , Louisiana
- Includes references
- Sugar cane international 2010 May-June, v. 28, no. 3
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
- Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.