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Title: Evaluation of Crop and Soil Spatial Variability in Louisiana Sugarcane Production Systems

item Johnson, Richard
item Richard Jr, Edward

Submitted to: International Conference on Precision Agriculture Abstracts & Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/26/2002
Publication Date: 7/14/2002
Citation: Johnson, R.M., Richard Jr, E.P. 2002. Evaluation of Crop and Soil Spatial Variability in Louisiana Sugarcane Production Systems. 6th International Conference on Precision Agriculture. p. 146.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Louisiana sugarcane producers, like most U.S. agricultural producers, have faced increased economic pressure in recent years. Low sugar prices have decreased profit margins significantly. Growers must find ways to decrease costs and maximize profits. Precision Agriculture, specifically, variable rate lime and fertilizer application, may offer an important tool to accomplish this task. Prior to implementation of a site-specific management plan an evaluation must be made of the inherent variability present in the system in question to determine if a precision management plan is warranted. This study reports results from our evaluations of the spatial variability in soil chemical and physical properties in selected sugarcane soils of Southern Louisiana. Data will also be reported on the spatial variability present in sugarcane yield and quality. Sugarcane variety LCP 85-384 was grown in two producers' fields in Schriever and Patoutville, LA, respectively. Each field was harvested in a grid cell pattern with cell dimensions of 10.6 x 15.2 m. Individual cells were harvested with a single row, chopper sugarcane harvester with weights determined using a weigh wagon. In addition to weights, a grab sample of cane billets was obtained from each grid cell for sugar quality analysis. Soil samples (0-15 cm) were also collected after harvest from each grid cell. Soil properties determined included: OM, pH, Ca, Mg, K, P, Na, CEC, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, S, Zn and soil texture. Yield, quality and soils data were analyzed by both conventional statistics and geostatistical techniques. Kriged maps of sugarcane yield, quality and soil properties were constructed and may prove useful in delineation of management zones for variable rate lime and fertilizer application.