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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: LARGE FACTORY STUDIES ACROSS THE SEASON TO DETERMINE HOW DIFFERENT LEVELS OF TRASH IMPACT UPSTREAM AND DOWNSTREAM PROCESSING

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To conduct large factory trials across the Louisiana processing season to determine how different levels of trash impact upsteam and downstream processing. The trials will provide crucial knowledge on what levels and types of trash are impeding the manufacture of VHP/VLC sugar for the new LA refineries, what the critical level of trash that causes VHP/VLC sugar to be produced over raw sugar, and also provide optimum ground and fan speeds to control the levels of processed trash for VHP/VLC sugar manufacture that is of economical benefit and satisfactory to both parties.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Different harvest treatments from the same commercial field of ripener-treated sugarcane (same variety per trial) will be evaluated. At least 3 treatments of green billets subjected to different combinations of extraction fan and ground speeds on a newer model combine harvester designed for green harvesting. Each harvest treatment will have 2 reps that will be delivered to the factory on the same day; each rep will represent -50 short tons. Four random grab samples (-35 lb) will be collected from each treatment rep in the cane yard, and separated into different tissues and weighed. Factory core lab results will be obtained for each treatment rep as well as the direct analysis of shredded cane (DAC) randomly removed from the factory conveyor belt. Tandem milling rates, etc., and any chokes will be monitored at the factory. After the whole tandem mill has first been purged with part of the treatment supply, composite mixed juice (MJ) and bagasse samples will be collected at the factory. The MJ will then quickly transported to New Orleans and processed across the SRRC sugar processing pilot plant into clarified juice, syrup, massecuite, molasses, raw and affinated VHP sugar. The factory trials will be repeated three times across the season to cover environmental variations.


3.Progress Report:

New refineries in Louisiana are requesting sugarcane factories to deliver higher quality raw sugar with low color and ash concentrations. This higher quality raw sugar will allow both growers and factory processors to gain economic premiums from the new refineries. A comprehensive factory trash trial was conducted in 2010 and completed. To complement this study, a sugarcane trash (leafy material and tops of stalks) mulch study was undertaken to determine if trash that is blown off at the factory and stored in piles can be reduced to smaller, manageable levels for transportation. The created mulch which can then be used as fertilizer on fields or sold to local nurseries. Results from which a 6 month preliminary study conducted on the grounds of the Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, indicated that an inexpensive and easily available bioactivator (a commercial mix of fungi and bacteria) with either molasses or nitrogen meal warrant further investigation in a replicate study in 2012. As sugarcane trash is also one of the causes of higher starch levels being delivered to Louisiana sugarcane factories in recent years, a factory study was also started on further optimizing the application of amylase to break down starch and to determine how the higher starch levels are affecting starch. Amylase activities (strengths) were found to be lower than in previous years, and this has contributed to the sub-optimal application of amylases. This agreement will not be extended and this constitutes the final report for the this project.


Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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