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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Houma, Louisiana » Sugarcane Research » Research » Research Project #420429

Research Project: Developing Integrated Weed and Insect Management Systems for Efficient and Sustainable Sugarcane Production

Location: Sugarcane Research

Project Number: 6052-22000-015-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 1, 2010
End Date: Sep 30, 2015

The broad objectives proposed in this Project Plan are to develop and improve sustainable management strategies for weeds and insects. The Project Plan will have the following four objectives. First, identify management practices that lessen the impact of weeds in sugarcane including tillage, residue management, herbicides, etc. This will be accomplished by determining the impact of cultivation frequency and sugarcane variety on bermudagrass and johnsongrass infestations. Also to evaluate the impact of planting rotational crops during the fallow season on weed control and sugarcane production. Second, evaluate herbicides for potential utility in sugarcane. Included in this objective will be evaluation of herbicide timing of spring applications and compatibility of new herbicides with existing herbicides and their fit in current weed control practices. Objective three will be to identify and exploit non-chemical tactics for controlling stemborers. Specifically this will involve identifying new sources of resistance and the potential of role of silica. The fourth objective will be to assess the quantitative relationship between sugarcane aphid densities and yield loss.

The approach to meeting the objectives of this project plan will be in the form of field evaluations and a green house evaluation. Cultivation requirements for weed control as a function of the rate of sugarcane emergence and the crops ability to shade the row will be compared. The hypothesis that planting short-season seeded crops during the fallow season will aid in reducing johnsongrass and bermudagrass infestations and will be economically advantageous over a non-crop fallow system, will be tested. New herbicides will be evaluated for their ability to reduce bermudagrass emergence following winter dormancy. New herbicide chemistries will likely offer increased options for weed control in sugarcane and when available will be evaluated for efficacy. Current forms of resistance to the sugarcane borer are associated with low sugar yields. Related species of sugarcane will be evaluated for forms of resistance that may not be associated with low sugar yields. Silica will be evaluated in the greenhouse and in field plots for its potential of increasing insect resistance. Finally, a series of evaluations will be conducted in commercial sugarcane fields determining if feeding by the sugarcane aphid is sufficient to cause economic yield losses.