Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Houma, Louisiana » Sugarcane Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #313483

Research Project: Integrated Crop, Soil, and Water Management Systems for Sustainable Production of Sugarcane for Bioenergy Feedstock

Location: Sugarcane Research

Title: Alternative cropping systems for sugarcane

Author
item Webber Iii, Charles
item White, Paul
item Dalley, Caleb - North Dakota State University
item Viator, Ryan - Calvin Viator & Associates
item Shrefler, James - Oklahoma State University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/30/2015
Publication Date: 10/1/2015
Citation: Webber III, C.L., White Jr, P.M., Dalley, C.D., Viator, R.P., Shrefler, J.W. 2015. Alternative cropping systems for sugarcane [abstract]. Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists Annual Meeting, January 30 - February 4, 2015, Atlanta, Georgia. S53.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Planting cover crops during the fallow period prior to planting sugarcane has the potential to influence not only the following sugarcane crop, but the economics of the production system as a whole. Research was conducted at the USDA, ARS, Sugarcane Research Unit at Houma, LA to determine the impact of cover crops on sugarcane production. The experiment included two cover crops, kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) and cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp.), three cover-crop harvest treatments, and a non-planted control. The experiment had four replications. The kenaf and cowpeas were planted on 8 May 2013. The three harvest treatments included 1) harvesting the kenaf and cowpeas 50 days after planting (DAP) and removing the crops, 2) harvesting the kenaf and cowpeas 100 DAP and removing the crops, and 3) cutting the kenaf and cowpea at 100 DAP and incorporating the material prior to sugarcane planting. In the control treatment, no cover crop was planted. Sugarcane variety HoCP 96-540 was planted on 26 August 2013, 110 days after planting the cover crops. The plant cane was harvested on 17 November 2015. Although the total recoverable sugar (TRS) (kg/mt) was greater with the kenaf cover-crop treatment 50 DAP (121 kg/mt) compared to the cowpea treatment 50 DAP (112 kg/mt) and the cowpea 100 DAP with the residue incorporated treatment (112.6 kg/ha), none of the cover crop treatments were significantly better or worse than the untreated control. The average values for the production factors across all treatments were 1.2 kg/stalk, 18.5 mt/ha, 217 kg/ha, and 115 kg/mt for average stalk weight, cane yield, sugar yield, and TRS, respectively. The results demonstrate the potential use of these alternative cover crops during the fallow period prior to planting sugarcane without adversely affecting the plant cane yields.