Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Evaluation of New Soil Micronutrient and Plant Hormone Formulations for Improved Crop Yields and Enhanced Disease Resistance

Location: Sugarcane Research Unit

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Determine if new soil micronutrient and plant hormone formulations increase sugarcane yields and enhance resistance to plant diseases.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Soil micronutrient tests will be initiated in plant-cane and 1st ratoon fields of HoCP 96-540 and L 99-226 to determine the influence of the micronutrient formulations on cane and sugar yields and also on the incidence of sugarcane diseases, particularly brown rust. Plots will be 3 rows by 15-m, and treatments will be arranged in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with six replications. All foliar treatments will be applied with a conventional, three-row, tractor-mounted broadcast sprayer calibrated to deliver 185 L/ha. Application rates will vary from 1.2 to 9.4 l/ha depending on formulation applied. N, P, and K fertilizer will be applied at rates recommended for plant-cane on silt loam and silty clay-loam textured soils. Rust levels will be monitored through visual ratings and by taking leaf samples and quantifying percent rust lesions with Assess® image analysis software. Sugarcane growing in each plot will be harvested utilizing a chopper harvester and weigh wagon. Weights of harvested stalks will be used to determine gross cane yields and a sample of harvested stalk pieces (billets) will be subjected to pre-breaker/press analysis to determine theoretically recoverable sugar (TRS) levels and ultimately sugar yields (kg ha-1) as per standard procedure. The study will be repeated on adjacent fields.

In the second study, selected soil micronutrient and plant hormone formulations will be soil-applied at rates of 1.2 and 2.5 l/ha as described above and incorporated in a first-ratoon field of HoCP 96-540 at sugarcane lay-by. All plots will be harvested to determine sugar and cane yields as outlined above. In the third study, a soil micronutrient and a plant hormone formulation will be soil surface applied at planting to a field of HoCP 96-540 at rates of 1.2, 2.5, 4.7, 9.4 l/ha. All plots will be harvested in the following year to determine yields as described above. In the final study, selected soil micronutrient formulations will be applied to a field of first-ratoon HoCP 96-540 in August to determine the utility of these compounds as ripeners. A commercial glyphosate based ripener will be included as a control. All plots will be harvested 35-40 days after ripener application with cane and sugar yields determined using methods described above.


3.Progress Report:

Soil micronutrient tests were initiated in plant-cane and second-ratoon fields of HoCP 96-540 and L 99-226 to determine the influence of the micronutrient formulations on cane and sugar yields and also on the incidence of sugarcane diseases, particularly brown rust. Plots were 3 rows by 15 meters, and treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with six replications. All foliar treatments were applied with a conventional, three-row, tractor-mounted broadcast sprayer calibrated to deliver 185 litres per hectare (L/ha). Application rates varied from 1.2 to 9.4 L/ha depending on formulation applied. Rust levels were monitored through visual ratings and by taking leaf samples and quantifying percent rust lesions with image analysis software. Cane and sugar yields were determined by harvesting plots in October and November 2013. Preliminary results showed positive yield effects with both Copper (Cu) and Nickel (Ni) in plant-cane trials and with Ni in second-ratoon trials.

In a second study, selected soil micronutrient and plant hormone formulations were soil-applied at rates of 1.2 and 2.5 L/ha as described above and incorporated in a first-ratoon field of HoCP 96-540 at sugarcane lay-by. All plots were harvested to determine sugar and cane yields as outlined above. There were no significant effects on cane or sugar yields per hectare, but a trend did show a postive influence on sugar yield per ton. In the third study, a soil micronutrient and a plant hormone formulation were soil surface applied at two rates at planting to a field of HoCP 96-540. All plots were harvested to determine yields as described above. A positive trend was observed in cane and sugar yields per hectare and in sugar yield per ton with the higher rate, although the effect was not signficant. In the final study, selected soil micronutrient formulations were applied to a field of first-ratoon L 99-226 in September and to a first-ratoon field of HoCP 96-540 in October to determine the utility of these compounds as ripeners. A commercial glyphosate based ripener was included as a control. All plots were harvested 35-40 days after ripener application with cane and sugar yields determined using methods described above. A significant increase in sugar yield was obtained with HoCP 96-540 and a postive trend was observed with L 99-226.


Last Modified: 9/23/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page