Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Houma, Louisiana » Sugarcane Research » Research » Research Project #441389

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

Location: Sugarcane Research

Project Number: 6052-21000-017-007-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Dec 1, 2021
End Date: Nov 30, 2026

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

Sugarcane crop response trials will be initiated in plant-cane, first- and second-ratoon fields of varieties L 01-299, HoCP 09-804, Ho 12-615 to determine the influence of the micronutrient and plant growth regulator PGR) formulations on cane and sugar yields, stand establishment at planting, ratooning ability, and the incidence of sugarcane diseases, particularly brown rust and brown stripe. 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 formulation 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 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) as per standard procedure. The study will be repeated on adjacent fields.