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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Houma, Louisiana » Sugarcane Research » Research » Research Project #431515

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

Location: Sugarcane Research

Project Number: 6052-21000-017-01-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2016
End Date: Sep 30, 2021

Objective:
Determine if new soil micronutrient and plant hormone formulations increase cane and sugar yields, enhance resistance to plant diseases, improve stand establishment at planting and increase ratooning ability.

Approach:
Soil micronutrient tests will be initiated in plant-cane, 1st and 2nd-ratoon fields of varieties HoCP 96-540, L 01-299, and HoCP 04-838 to determine the influence of the micronutrient formulations on cane and sugar yields, stand establishment at planting, ratooning ability, 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 and in-furrow treatments will be applied with a conventional, three-row, tractor-mounted broadcast sprayer calibrated to deliver 230 L/ha. Application rates will vary from 0.5 to 28 L/ha depending on formation applied. N, P, and K fertilizer will be applied at rates recommended for plant-cane and ratoon fields on silt loam and silty clay-loam textured soils. In tests evaluating the disease control potential of applied formulations, disease levels will be monitored through visual ratings and by taking leaf samples and quantifying percent rust lesions with Assess® image analysis software. Spring emergence counts will be taken in tests evaluating stand establishment and ratooning ability and stalk counts and heights will be taken in all fields in August. Sugarcane yields will be determined by harvesting plots with 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 a separate study, selected soil micronutrient formulations will be applied to fields of first-ratoon and second-ratoon HoCP 96-540 and L01-299 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.