|Richard Jr, Edward
Submitted to: Sugar Journal
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2006
Publication Date: 1/20/2007
Citation: Viator, R.P., Johnson, R.M., Richard Jr., E.P. 2007. Dealing with plant stress in Louisiana sugarcane production. Sugar Journal. 69:(8)6.
Technical Abstract: Sugarcane can encounter several grower-induced stresses during the early part of the growing season. The purpose of this article is to transfer research findings in the area of crop stress physiology and in particular in the area of residue removal in an effort to communicate how Louisiana sugarcane producers can more effectively eliminate these stresses and thereby reduce the potential negative impacts, especially on ratoon crops. Research has indicated that the post-harvest residue blanket generated during green cane harvesting with chopper harvesters should be removed either mechanically or by burning by the end of January before the crop emerges in the early spring. Non-removal reduces sugar yields by up to 15%, which in some cases is the profit. Delaying the removal of the residue once the cane has emerged has the same basic impact as a frost (environmentally induced stress) as the emerged cane shoots will have lost a week or more of early season growth. Research results suggest that early season crop growth can also be compromised if growers clip the winter-killed growth in late February and early March with as much as a 10-12% loss in sugar yield occurring when compared to no clipping or early clipping from mid-January to mid-February. Using calendar dates for residue removal in harvested and newly planted fields should only be a broad guideline, because timings of these operations should be based on the stage of the crop, not by the day of the year. In the case of the above, that critical stage is before the crop emerges to begin a new production year.