Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #397738

Research Project: Improved Conversion of Sugar Crops into Food, Biofuels, Biochemicals, and Bioproducts

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: Effects of harvest temperature and rainfall on molasses purity

item Terrell, Evan

Submitted to: The Sugar Bulletin
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2022
Publication Date: 10/1/2022
Citation: Terrell, E., Mandalika, A. 2022. Effects of harvest temperature and rainfall on molasses purity. The Sugar Bulletin. 101(1):15-17.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Audubon Sugar Institute’s molasses survey is an ongoing effort for quantifying efficiency in Louisiana raw sugar factories. The molasses survey analyses determine characteristics like reducing sugars, ash, target purity, and target purity difference (TPD) on a weekly basis. Typically, a lower TPD is an indicator for better overall efficiency in sugar recovery. Because measurements for molasses are carried out for each factory each week, and have been for many years, there is now a lot of information that could be looked at more closely. In addition to the week-to-week usefulness of the molasses survey during grinding season, the large volume of data over many years may shed new light on some correlations relevant for sugarcane processing and factory operations. One piece of information that can be folded into the molasses data is a review of harvest weather conditions on a weekly basis for each week that the survey is conducted. The goal of this work is to see what relationships could be derived between harvest weather (average weekly temperature and rainfall) and molasses survey data. There is ample room and substantial need for incorporating ‘big data' approaches which can shed light on processing challenges and improvements through correlations. Using statistical approaches, it will be possible to investigate not only historical cause-and-effect scenarios, but also inform future production metrics, taking into account planting acreages, varieties, soil characteristics, temperature and rainfall over the season, extreme weather events, such as frosts, hurricanes, etc. Such an undertaking will require the cooperation of a variety of stakeholders, scientists, and agencies to incorporate a data-driven approach to improve predictability and ensure the sustainability of the Louisiana sugarcane industry into the future.