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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 Title: Effects of billet planting rate and position on sugarcane yields in Louisiana

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

Submitted to: American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 19, 2011
Publication Date: October 14, 2011
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/57403
Citation: Johnson, R.M., Viator, R.P., Richard Jr, E.P. 2011. Effects of billet planting rate and position on sugarcane yields in Louisiana. Journal of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists. 31:79-90.

Interpretive Summary: The majority of sugarcane grown in Louisiana is propagated vegetatively using whole stalks of cane as seed cane. In recent years, producers began to experiment with using the chopper harvester which cuts the stalks of seed cane into 58-60 cm pieces (billets) as an alternative to the whole-stalk harvester. With billet planting more seed cane is required to insure adequate plant cane stands and lower yields are often experienced compared to whole-stalk planting. A study was initiated in 2001 with the cultivar LCP 85-384 at the USDA, ARS Ardoyne Research Farm near Schriever, LA to determine the effects of billet planting rate (hectares planted per hectare of seed cane harvested) and billet position within the furrow on cane and sugar yields. Three different planting ratios to include the standard 3:1 ratio and two lower ratios ( 5:1, and 7:1) and three billet distribution patterns (equal, two lines, and three lines) were compared from plant-cane to the third ratoon. Cane yield was not significantly affected by either planting rate or planting position, and there were no interactions with crop year or trial. Theoretically recoverable sugar (TRS) was also not significantly affected by either planting rate or position, but did show an interaction between trial and planting position and crop year and planting rate. Sugar yield also did not respond to the main effects of either planting rate or position, but did have interactions between trial and planting position and crop year and planting rate. When a comparison was made between cane and sugar yields from the 3:1 planting ratio (industry standard for billets) and a 5:1 ratio, no significant differences were noted. This would suggest that billet planting with LCP 85-384 can be made economical in Louisiana without negatively influencing cane or sugar yields.

Technical Abstract: The successful implementation of sugarcane billet planting would offer Louisiana producers several potential economic advantages including reduced labor and equipment costs. Two factors that are preventing the adoption of billet planting are the higher seed cane costs associated with billet planting and lower yields when compared to whole-stalk planting. A study was initiated in 2001 with the cultivar LCP 85-384 at the USDA, ARS Ardoyne Research Farm near Schriever, LA to determine the effects of billet planting rate and billet position within the furrow on cane and sugar yields. Three different planting ratios (3:1, 5:1, and 7:1) and three billet distribution patterns (equal, two lines, and three lines) were compared from plant-cane to the third ratoon. Cane yield was not significantly affected by either planting rate or planting position, and there were no interactions with crop year or trial. Theoretically recoverable sugar (TRS) was also not significantly affected by either the main effect of planting rate or position, but did show an interaction between trial and planting position (P=0.0465) and crop year and planting rate (P=0.0667). Sugar yield also did not respond to the main effects of either planting rate or position, but did have interactions between trial and planting position (P=0.0578) and crop year and planting rate (P=0.04). When a comparison was made between cane and sugar yields from the 3:1 planting ratio (industry standard for billets) and a 5:1 ratio, no significant differences were noted. This would suggest that billet planting with LCP 85-384 can be made economical in Louisiana without negatively influencing cane or sugar yields.

Last Modified: 12/17/2014
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