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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Houma, Louisiana » Sugarcane Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #393679

Research Project: The Effects of Water-Driven Processes on Sugarcane Production Systems and Associated Ecosystem Services in Louisiana

Location: Sugarcane Research

Title: Chemical seed treatment and cultural practices to improve billet planting in Louisiana

item White, Paul
item Ellsworth, Patrick

Submitted to: American Society of Sugarcane Technologist
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2022
Publication Date: 9/1/2022
Citation: White Jr, P.M., Ellsworth, P.Z., Hoy, J.W. 2022. Chemical seed treatment and cultural practices to improve billet planting in Louisiana. American Society of Sugarcane Technologist. pg 15-16.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Planting sugarcane seed pieces up to 60-cm in length (billets) is not practiced widely in Louisiana because of pathogens associated with wet cool soil conditions, and lower ratooning ability. Most growers choose to plant whole sugarcane stalks. However, labor shortages and tropical weather that lodges seed cane has led to increased billet planting in recent years. Billet planting is faster but requires more seed cane and may benefit from delayed planting to wait for stalk maturity. Chemical seed treatments, dip-applied prior to planting, consisting of fungicide and insecticide, may increase sugarcane yields. Little information is available regarding billet planting tolerance of recent Louisiana commercial varieties. The objectives of these field studies were to evaluate chemical seed treatment, date of planting, and rate of planting effects on sugarcane yields of billet and whole-stalk seed cane. In separate experiments, chemical seed treatment tests with HoCP 96-540; date of planting tests with whole stalk and billet L 01-299, HoCP 09-804, and Ho 12-615; and rate of planting tests with whole stalk and billet L 01-299 and Ho 12-615 were conducted in Cancienne silt loam soil. For chemical seed treatment tests, the combination of fungicide (strobilurin, triazole, or pyrazole) and insecticide (thiamethoxam) treated billets frequently produced higher cane and sucrose yields (P<0.05), when compared to non-treated billets or whole stalks. Neither 3 whole stalks, or 3, 6, or 9 billets resulted in significantly greater stand counts or yield for L 01-299 or Ho 12-615. However, a trend of increasing sucrose yield was observed with higher billet seeding rate. Date of planting effects on plant cane yield were variable, but generally the newer varieties displayed tolerance to billet planting. Overall, the results demonstrate that billet planting can be achieved using newer Louisiana commercial varieties, but cultural practices play a role in success.