Location: Sugarcane ResearchTitle: The effect of row spacing on L 01-299 and HoCP 04-838 sugarcane yields in Louisiana
Submitted to: American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2021
Publication Date: 7/7/2021
Citation: White Jr, P.M., Callahan Jr, H.J., Webber III, C.L., Ellsworth, P.Z. 2021. The effect of row spacing on L 01-299 and HoCP 04-838 sugarcane yields in Louisiana. Journal of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists. 41:18-25.
Interpretive Summary: Sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) is produced in 22 parishes in Louisiana and is the most valuable row crop in the state. Louisiana accounts for half of the U.S. sugarcane produced each year. The majority of the sugarcane is produced on rows spaced about 6-feet apart from each other. Most sugarcane field equipment, such as tractors and harvesters, are set at this row spacing as well. Recently, growers became interested in a wider, 8-foot spaced row, because it may make harvesting more efficient. However, research data related to crop yields under each of these row spacing systems are limited. Therefore, the objective of this research was to evaluate crop yield in 6 and 8-foot rows for two commercial cultivars, L 01-299 and HoCP 04-838. In the plant-cane crop, the 8-foot wide rows produced 7% more sugarcane yield than the 6-foot rows. Row spacing did not affect the first ratoon, second ratoon, or yields over the entire rotation. Stalk sucrose concentrations were lower for L 01-299 in the plant cane wide rows; however, row spacing did not affect stalk sucrose concentrations in other crops. Sucrose yields followed similar trends as did TRS. Overall, row spacing affected plant cane yield, TRS, and sucrose, but not first ratoon, second ratoon, or over the entire rotation. Whichever row spacing system exhibits the lowest operating costs should be the most profitable to the respective sugarcane farming operation.
Technical Abstract: Sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) is produced on 178,900 ha in Louisiana and is the most valuable row crop in the state. The majority of the sugarcane is produced on 1.8-m spaced rows and harvested green using combine chopper harvesters. However, recently a 2.4-m spaced row system has been employed by numerous sugarcane growers in an effort to reduce sediment levels in the harvested crop. The objective of this research was to evaluate the crop yield in both row spacing systems for the commercial cultivars ‘L 01-299’ and ‘HoCP 04-838’over multiple crop years. Tests of each row spacing and cultivar were planted in 2017 and 2018. In plant cane, the wide row spacing produced significantly greater cane yield, compared to the standard row spacing, by about 7%. Row space did not affect first ratoon, second ratoon, or grand mean yields; however, L 01-299 out yielded HoCP 04-838 regardless of row spacing in first and second ratoon. In plant cane, L 01-299 in the wide row configuration exhibited the lowest TRS, compared to all other treatment combinations. In first ratoon and the grand mean, HoCP 04-838 exhibited higher TRS but no row spacing effect was observed. Sucrose yield followed a similar trend to TRS. Overall, row spacing only resulted in significant differences for cane yield, TRS, and sucrose yield in plant cane. The remainder of the crops evaluated were affected by cultivar but not row spacing. Therefore, whichever row spacing system exhibits the lowest operating costs should be the most profitable to the respective sugarcane farming operation.