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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Canal Point, Florida » Sugarcane Field Station » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334995

Research Project: Enhancement of Sugarcane Germplasm for Development of Stress Tolerant, High Yielding Cultivars

Location: Sugarcane Field Station

Title: Identifying Physiological and Yield Related Traits in Sugarcane and Energy Cane

Author
item Zhao, Duli
item IREY, MIKE - Us Sugar Corporation
item LABORDE, CHRIS - Us Sugar Corporation
item HU, CHEN-JIAN - Us Sugar Corporation

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/2017
Publication Date: 5/5/2017
Citation: Zhao, D., Irey, M., Laborde, C., Hu, C. 2017. Identifying physiological and yield related traits in sugarcane and energy cane. Agronomy Journal. 109:927-937.

Interpretive Summary: We conducted a study on sand soils at two locations (PPI and Townsite farms) of south Florida using two sugarcanes cultivar and two energy cane clones. The purposes of this study were to compare some physiological traits, plant growth, and biomass yields of sugarcane and energy cane. Data were collected on plant-cane, first-ratoon, and second-ratoon crops. Leaf relative chlorophyll level, photosynthetic rate, and canopy reflectance were measured during tillering and grand growth. Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) was calculated based on canopy reflectance. Stalk population, diameter and length, and about ground biomass yields were determined on mature plants. Results indicated that there were no differences between sugarcane and energy cane in leaf chlorophyll or photosynthesis. Energy cane had 26-35% greater NDVI values than sugarcane in the two ratoon crops during tillering and grand growth. Energy cane also showed 21% higher dry biomass yield than sugarcane, when averaged across two locations and three crops. Increased biomass production of energy cane was mainly associated with great NDVI and high stalk population. Energy cane could be an alternative crop for high biomass production on marginal sand soils in the future to improve profits if a market is available.

Technical Abstract: A growing interest of producing sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) for both sugar and bioenergy and saturation of using organic soils provide an opportunity to expand production on mineral (sand) soils. However, sugarcane yields and profits on sand soils are generally low. Energy cane may be an alternative on sand soils in the future to improve profits. The objective of this study was to identify growth, physiological, and biomass traits of sugarcane and energy cane growing on sand soils. Two commercial sugarcane cultivars and two energy cane clones were planted at two sites with sand soils in south Florida. Data were collected on plant-cane, first-ratoon, and second-ratoon crops. Leaf relative chlorophyll level (SPAD readings), photosynthetic rate (Pn), and canopy reflectance were measured during tillering and grand growth. Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) was calculated based on canopy reflectance data. Stalk population, diameter and length, and above ground biomass yields were determined when plants reached maturation. Although there were no consistent differences between sugarcane and energy cane in leaf SPAD, Pn or NDVI of plant cane, energy cane had 26-35% greater NDVI values than sugarcane in the ratoon crops. Energy cane showed 21% higher dry biomass than sugarcane, averaged across two sites and three crops. Increased biomass production of energy cane was mainly associated with high stalk population, long stalk, and great NDVI rather than leaf Pn or stalk diameter. The findings of this study on physiological parameters of energy cane versus sugarcane can be useful for improvement of knowledge and future research.