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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Sugarcane Post-Harvest Residue Management in Temperate Climates

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

Submitted to: International Society of Sugarcane Technologist Agronomy Workshop
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 20, 2006
Publication Date: February 20, 2006
Citation: Viator, R.P., Johnson, R.M., Richard Jr, E.P. 2006. Sugarcane post-harvest residue management in temperate climates [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the International Society of Sugarcane Technologist Agronomy Workshop, May 23 - 26, 2006, Khon Kaen, Thailand, p. 8.

Technical Abstract: Retention of post-harvest residue can decrease cane yield by 4.5-13.5 t/ha in the temperate climate of Louisiana. A series of experiments was conducted to determine the physiological causes for this loss and to develop management practices to mitigate the effects of residue retention. Chemical extractions revealed the presence of benzoic acid in the residue, which reduced cane germination by 50% compared to the control (water only). Residue retention was also shown to decrease leaf area. Regression analysis showed that for every 1 t/ha of residue, sugar yields were decreased by 0.13 t/ha. Management research demonstrated that sugar and cane yield reductions were greater on third (12 and 10%) compared to second (4 and 1%) and first (3 and 2%) year ratoons. In prior research, residue retention lowered cane yield, which resulted in lower sugar yields. This study showed that both a decrease in cane yield and sucrose concentration caused lower sugar yields. Irrespective of ratoon age, mechanical removal to the wheel furrow proved similar to burning, and both removal methods increased cane yields over the control (no removal). Incorporation of residue once placed in the wheel furrow did not increase yield, but may aid in decomposition. Data indicated that across ratoons, residue should be removed when the crop becomes dormant (usually in January in Louisiana). If removal is delayed until the crop is actively growing (usually in March in Louisiana), mechanical removal is the only option because burning will result in an additional 11% reduction in sugar yield when compared to full retention. To conclude, sugarcane post-harvest residue has multiple detrimental physiological effects on sugarcane. Moreover, stubble age, soil type, method, and timing of removal should all be taken into account when making residue management decisions with priority payed to the older ratoons.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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