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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: NEW AND IMPROVED CULTURAL PRACTICES FOR SUSTAINABLE SUGARCANE PRODUCTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Location: Sugarcane Research Unit

Title: Management of post-harvest residue blanket

Authors
item Viator, Ryan
item Johnson, Richard
item Richard Jr, Edward

Submitted to: Sugar Bulletin
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 20, 2005
Publication Date: December 20, 2005
Citation: Viator, R.P., Johnson, R.M., Richard Jr, E.P. 2005. Management of post-harvest residue blanket. Sugar Bulletin. 83:10-11.

Technical Abstract: Timely and effective residue management is essential for maximum sugar yields. Several studies were implemented in 2003 and harvested in 2004 in an effort to increase the effectiveness of residue management practices. Six studies were conducted to determine the effect of residue removal timing and method. Tests were conducted on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd stubble fields of LCP85-384 grown on both heavy and light soil. Removal treatments consisted of no removal, brush, and burn; timings consisted of monthly removals from harvest until March. Data from a majority of the sites indicated that producers should both burn and mechanical remove in January and February because both forms of removal in March produced yields lower than where the residue was not removed at all. Two of the six sites indicated that mechanical removal may be inferior to burning. Moreover, a study conducted on a poorly drained, heavy-clay soil investigating different types of mechanical removal equipment also indicated that burning produced greater sugar yields than all mechanical removal options. This study also indicated that incorporation of the residue did not increase yields. Besides removal timing and method, we also conducted several experiments looking at how residue management influences other management practices such as ripeners. To determine the interaction of ripener and residue stress we applied six ounces of Polado on 1st stubble LCP85-384 and then harvested these plots at 40, 50, or 60 days after application. After harvest we then split these plots in half whereby the residue was removed on only part of the plot. The subsequent 2nd stubble crop was harvested in 2004. Polado treatment to the 1st stubble did not affect yields of the second stubble. On the other hand, sugar yields were lower where the residue was not removed. In addition to studying residue management practices, the Sugarcane Research Laboratory is actively screening germplasm to develop self-stripping varieties and development of varieties tolerant of the conditions created by the residue. Self- stripping varieties would not only enhance natural degradation of the residue but would also improve harvesting and milling efficiency. Development of residue-tolerant varieties would allow Louisiana producers to use the benefits of the residue such as weed suppression and nutrient input without the yield reduction that is currently associated with non-removal of the residue.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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