|Richard Jr, Edward|
Submitted to: American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 14, 2002
Publication Date: June 1, 2003
Citation: Richard Jr, E.P., Johnson, R.M. 2003. Green cane trash blankets: Influence on ratoon crops in Louisiana [abstract]. Journal of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists. 23:93. Technical Abstract: Approximately 75% of Louisiana's 2000 sugarcane crop was harvested with a chopper harvester. A significant portion of the chopper-harvested sugarcane was harvested green, especially early in the season. Information on the impact of the post-harvest, green-cane residue blankets on subsequent ratoon crops is inconclusive, but yield reductions have been reported. To insure maximum yields, the residue is generally removed by burning during the winter months when weather conditions are more favorable in reducing the likelihood the smoke will offend the public. The effects of residue blanket management methods on ratoon crops were studied following the 2000 harvest. In one study, burning the residue in January resulted in higher (14%) sugar yields of first-ratoon LCP 85-384 compared to the no removal treatment. Delaying the burning of the residue until February or March did not significantly improve sugar yields over the no removal treatment. In a second study designed to evaluate varietal responses to dates of residue removal, first-ratoon crops of CP 70-321, LCP 85-384, HoCP 85-845, and HoCP 91-555 were found to respond similarly to the removal of the residue. The average sugar yield (6.6 Mg/ha) for the four varieties was 11% higher than the no removal treatment (5.9 Mg/ha) when the residue was removed in early January, regardless of whether the residue was mechanically removed to the row sides or completely burned off. When burning was delayed until March, the average sugar yield (5.3 Mg/ha) was 10% lower than the no removal treatment suggesting that some damage to the emerged shoots was occurring with the later burn. Soil temperature and soil moisture readings taken early in the growing season (January to April, 2002) indicate that the soil is colder and wetter under the blanket of residue. The cold and wet soil condition created by the thick blanket of residue may be affecting crop emergence in the spring and ultimately sugar yields.