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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Houma, Louisiana » Sugarcane Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #267095

Title: Effects of cultivation frequency on sugarcane yields

item Viator, Ryan
item Johnson, Richard
item Richard Jr, Edward

Submitted to: American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/17/2011
Publication Date: 7/1/2011
Citation: Viator, R.P., Johnson, R.M., Richard Jr, E.P. 2011. Effects of cultivation frequency on sugarcane yields. Journal of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists. 31:56.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Reducing the number of cultivations during one or more years of a four year crop cycle reduces production expenses and could increase profitability if yields are not adversely affected. This study was initiated to determine the effects of cultivation on yields of sugarcane grown on a clay soil both on an annual basis and throughout a cane-cropping cycle. Whole-plot treatments in plant-cane were either no or conventional cultivation. Conventional cultivation consisted of a total of four cultivations with two inter-row cultivations before fertilization, one cultivation immediately after fertilization, and a lay-by cultivation. For the no cultivation treatment, rows were left undisturbed except for knifing fertilizer on both sides of the planted line of sugarcane in April each year of the crop cycle. For every subsequent ratoon crop, the whole plots established in the previous crop were split with split-plot treatments being no or conventional cultivation. Thus, split, split-split, and split-split-split treatments were initiated in the first-, second-, and third-ratoons, respectively. Conventional cultivation increased sucrose yields by 700 and 600 kg ha-1 in the plant-cane and first-ratoon crops. Cultivation treatments resulted in equivalent yields in the second-ratoon crops. In the third-ratoon, the no cultivation treatment increased sucrose yields by 700 to 1000 kg ha-1 only if the cane had been conventionally cultivated in either the prior plant-cane or second-ratoon crops. Over the three years where the treatments could be combined (plant-cane, first-, and second- ratoons) conventional tillage increased sucrose yields by 1200 kg ha-1, which equates to a $525 and $380 USD increase in gross and net revenue per hectare. Conventional cultivation in plant-cane is necessary to increase yield throughout a crop cycle, but Louisiana producers may consider minimum cultivation in the last two years of the crop cycle.