Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/2/2001
Publication Date: 5/1/2002
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Sugarcane in the Everglades Agricultural Area is irregularly exposed to periods of higher than desired water levels. Developing agronomic strategies that result in acceptable yields under these intermittent high water levels would improve both profits and conservation of the organic soils on which sugarcane is grown in the Everglades. Nine sugarcane cultivars were field tested at two higher than commercial water tables in two plant-cane, two first-ratoon, and one second-ratoon crop. Yield was reduced by 25% for the cultivar most used in Florida due to a water table of less than 15 cm from the soil surface from June through October. The second most widely used cultivar in Florida suffered no losses at this water table. This study provided Florida sugarcane growers information about their major cultivars so they can choose which ones to plant in perennially wet areas, and which ones to drain first when choices must be made. Geneticists will use information from this study to improve sugarcane's tolerance to high water table.
Technical Abstract: Sugarcane in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) is irregularly exposed to periods of higher than desired water levels. This study was conducted to evaluate yields of nine sugarcane cultivars subjected to two higher than commercial water tables in the EAA during the summer rainy season from the plant-cane through the second-ratoon crops. Field experiments were planted in February 1997 and January 1998. During the summers from 1997 through 1999, we sought to maintain water < 15 cm below the soil surface (BSS) in the wetter field and from 15 to 38 cm BSS in the drier field. The mean sugar yield in the wetter field was 91.7% that of the drier field. Yields of CP 72-2086 and CP 82-1172 were not affected by water table. CP 85-1308 had higher yields in the wetter field in two of five harvests. Yield of CP 80-1743 was reduced by 25.1% in the wetter field. The variability among commercial cultivars in their ability to maintain their yields at two high water tables suggests that routine screening of promising sugarcane genotypes under high water tables would help identify more cultivars that maintain high yields in wetter conditions.