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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Nutrient Accumulation and Removal by Sugarcane Grown on Everglades Histosols


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 85 No. 2, p. 310-315
    Received: Mar 2, 1992

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. F. J. Coale ,
  2. C. A. Sanchez,
  3. F. T. Izuno and
  4. A. B. Bottcher
  1. U niv. of Florida, Everglades Res. and Education Center, P.O. Box 8003, Belle Glade, FL 33430
    U niv. of Arizona, Yuma Agric. Center, 6425 W. 8th St., Yuma, AZ 85364
    U niv. of Florida, Agric. Engineering Dep., Frazier Rogers Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611



Sugarcane (interspecific hybrids of Saccharum spp.) is Florida's most valuable agronomic crop. Recently, sugarcane production has come under scrutiny because of concerns regarding the impact of nutrient-rich drainage water on the ecology of adjoining bodies of water and wetlands. The objective of our research was to define the N, P, K, Ca, and Mg seasonal accumulation patterns in the aerial portion of sugarcane grown on organic soils of the Everglades Agricultural Area. Sugarcane fields were sampled on 30 to 60 d intervals during the plant-cane and first-ratoon crops. Dry weight, N, P, K, Ca, and Mg accumulation were determined and characterized by logistic growth models. Dry weight accumulation averaged 0.15 t ha−1 d−1 during the grand growth period. The period of most rapid nutrient uptake was shown to correspond with the grand growth period and the rates of nutrient uptake during different phases of crop development were defined. At harvest, 71% of total dry matter and 55, 63, 64, 25, and 38% of total accumulated N, P, K, Ca, and Mg, respectively, were removed from the field as millable sugarcane. Phosphorus and K removal from the field by crop harvest was equivalent to 179 and 201%, respectively, of added fertilizer P and K. Apparently, fertilizer P and K were minor contributors to the total soil pool of plant available P and K. Nutrient accumulation patterns should be incorporated into future management plans designed to minimize the impact of sugarcane production on the surrounding environment.

Contribution from the Univ. of Florida, Institute of Food and Agric. Sci. Florida Agric. Exp. Stn. Journal Series no. R-02170.

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