|Richard Jr, Edward|
Submitted to: International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 14, 2003
Publication Date: October 16, 2003
Citation: Johnson, R.M., Richard Jr, E.P. 2003. Machinery advances for post-harvest residue management in Louisiana [abstract]. International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists'Agricultural Engineering Workshop - Abstracts of Commmunications. Available: http://issct.intnet.mu. Technical Abstract: Burning of post-harvest sugarcane residues generated during the chopper harvesting of green cane is done in response to research conducted in Louisiana that shows a potential for reduced cane and sugar yields in subsequent ratoon crops where the residue is not removed soon after harvest. The continued use of burning as a residue management practice has come into question due to increased pressure from government and citizen groups concerned over health and environmental issues. If sugarcane producers are prohibited from burning, the residues must be removed either mechanically or through other cultural practices. The purpose of this research was to investigate the utility of several innovative pieces of machinery that have been designed or modified to aid in the removal of post-harvest residues. Residue experiments were conducted on commercial fields in various areas of the sugarcane belt of Louisiana. Mechanical removal treatments were applied immediately after harvest and consisted of 1) a hydraulically driven brush roller, or 2) a ground-speed driven, serrated rubber toothed sweep (Orthman Residue Remover®) to remove residue from the row top. A bladed drum device (Lawson Canemaster®) that incorporates residue in the row middles was also investigated in one study. In this experiment, a treatment in which the residue was mechanically removed from the top of the row and then incorporated was also included. A no removal treatment, a burn treatment and a nitrogen fertilizer treatment were also evaluated. All plots were harvested using a single row, chopper harvester with weights of harvested billets being determined using a weigh wagon equipped with electronic load sensors. A random sample of cane billets was obtained from each plot for sugar quality analysis. The highest sugar yields were obtained when nitrogen was included and the residue was mechanically removed from the row top and incorporated in the row middles with either the Brush + Lawson (9699 kg sugar ha-1, 80 Mg ha-1) or the Orthman Residue Remover + Lawson (9691 kg sugar ha-1, 81 Mg ha-1). The lowest yields (8820 kg sugar ha-1, 72 Mg ha-1) occurred when the residue was not removed. Results from these studies should prove useful to producers who are looking for alternative residue management techniques.