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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Houma, Louisiana » Sugarcane Research » Research » Research Project #431521

Research Project: The Effects of Water-Driven Processes on Sugarcane Production Systems and Associated Ecosystem Services in Louisiana

Location: Sugarcane Research

2017 Annual Report

1. Measure and model water-driven processes in agricultural production systems to predict and enable production under constrained conditions that affect ecosystem services. 1.A. Measure sugarcane growth, yield (tons and sugar), and residue in conventional (1.8 m) and wide row (2.4 m) production systems under ambient water conditions. 1.B. Identify field properties and utilization of resources that vary between row spacing including soil carbon and soil moisture content. 2. Measure and model fluxes of water and carbon in these systems and how they are affected by management practices.

Use field experiments to study the effects of water availability on sugarcane establishment, growth, and yield, and how row spacing-induced changes to water availability and crop physiology affects carbon cycling within the soil, plant, and atmosphere continuum. Laboratory experiments will evaluate how post-harvest crop residue, the largest soil carbon input in these field systems, cycling is impacted by the effects of water, temperature, mineral nutrients, and particle size.

Progress Report
This report documents progress for Project Number 6052-13210-002-00D, The Effects of Water-Driven Processes on Sugarcane Production Systems and Associated Ecosystem Services in Louisiana, and continues research from Project Number 6052-13210-001-00D, Integrated Crop, Soil, and Water Management Systems for Sustainable Production of Sugarcane for Bioenergy Feedstock. For additional information, see the Progress Report included in the old project. The row spacing of sugarcane fields changes soil water availability by altering furrow drainage number, plant population, and conservation tillage. For Objective 1, the first year’s row spacing tests were planted in September 2017. Prior to planting, soil water sensors were installed as outlined in the project plan. After planting, soil respiration measurements began twice weekly. For Objective 2, installation of a meteorological and gas instrument tower was completed in fiscal year 2016, with testing through the first quarter of the 2017 fiscal year. The tower began continuous collection of weather, carbon dioxide, and soil temperature and moisture data in July 2016. Data collected will be correlated with sugarcane growth measurements taken throughout the year.