Submitted to: International Conference on Precision Agriculture Abstracts & Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2012
Publication Date: 7/15/2012
Citation: Johnson, R.M., Viator, R.P. 2012. Spatial variability of sugarcane yields in relation to soil salinity in Louisiana. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Precision Agriculture, July 15-18, 2012, Indianapolis, IN. 2012 CDROM.
Technical Abstract: High soil salinity levels have been documented to negatively impact sugarcane yields. Tests were conducted in commercial sugarcane fields in South Louisiana in 2009-2010 to determine if elevated soil salinity levels resulting from salt water intrusion from several recent hurricanes was having a negative influence on cane and sugar yields. Two commercial fields were selected for the study: a 4.0-ha field of 1st ratoon, ‘L 99-226’ in 2009 and a 2.5-ha field of plant-cane, ‘Ho 95-988’ in 2010. To determine actual yields selected rows from each field were harvested in 23-m increments using a single-row chopper harvester. Cane yields were determined using a field transport wagon equipped with electronic load sensors, and theoretically recoverable sucrose (TRS) levels were estimated by the core-press method. Soil samples were taken (0-15 cm) from each plot to determine soil salinity levels. Also, in 2010 a Veris Multi-Sensor Platform was utilized to map soil electrical conductivity (EC) in adjacent fields to determine if EC could be used to identify negatively affected areas. Results from 2009 showed that both cane and sugar yields exhibited significant variability with yields ranging from 0.7 to 102.6 Mg ha-1 and 53.6 to 10,490 kg ha-1, respectively. In 2010, cane and sugar yields also exhibited significant variability with yields ranging from 14.6 to 89.6 Mg ha-1 and 1,680 to 10,660 kg ha-1, respectively. In both years, spatial variability in cane and sugar yields were correlated with the spatial variability observed in soil salinity levels. In addition, soil EC mapping appears to offer promise as a method that sugarcane growers could use to more effectively manage fields negatively impacted by soil salinity.