2011 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.
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 to determine how different speeds of the extractor fans on two combine harvesters affect trash levels of green billets (short sections of whole stalk of 20-30 cm) from one commercial sugarcane variety as well as factory processing. Fan speeds of 1,050, 850 and 650 revolutions per minute (rpm) were studied on three different days (November 20-22, 2010). A bulk sample of mixed juice was transported to our new pilot plant in New Orleans to simulate the manufacture of products across the factory including sugars. Total trash levels (leaves plus top part of the stalk) were 12.1, 18.9 and 22.7% for the 1,050, 850, and 650 rpm fan speeds, respectively. Most quality and processing parameters, including color and ash, became progressively worse with increased trash levels and decreased fan speed. Overall, at 650 rpm fan speed, high quality sugar for the new refinery was not commercially attained. Net proceeds to the grower were optimal for both growers and processors at the 850 rpm setting. The progress was monitored via periodic email and phone conversations.