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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 97 No. 3, p. 760-771
    Received: July 6, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): rjohnson@srrc.ars.usda.gov
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Sugarcane Yield, Sugarcane Quality, and Soil Variability in Louisiana

  1. Richard M. Johnson * and
  2. Edward P. Richard
  1. USDA-ARS-SRRC, Sugarcane Research Unit, 5883 USDA Rd., Houma, LA 70360 USA


This study was conducted to determine the extent of temporal and spatial variability present in commercially cultivated sugarcane (interspecific hybrids of Saccharum spp. cv. LCP 85-384) grown in South Louisiana. Sugarcane fields at two locations were harvested for three consecutive years (2001–2003) in a grid pattern with a single-row, chopper harvester and a field transport wagon equipped with electronic load sensors to determine cane yields. Sugar yield and quality were determined from a random cane sample from each grid cell, and soil samples were collected after harvest from each grid cell (2002–2004). At each location, the majority of soil properties exhibited nonnormal distributions with coefficients of variation ranging from 1 to 56% over all years and locations, and all soil properties were spatially correlated with the range varying from 26 to 241 m. Cane and sugar yields and sugar quality parameters at both locations were found to exhibit nonnormal distributions in selected years, and the coefficients of variation ranged from 5 to 20% over all years and locations. Cane and sugar yields and quality parameters were spatially correlated with a range varying from 26 to 187 m with the exception of theoretically recoverable sugar and fiber at one location in 2003. Soil S and Ca/Mg ratio were correlated to all sugar parameters at one location, and soil organic matter and soil buffer pH were correlated to all sugar parameters at the second location. These data would indicate that sufficient variability exists in commercially produced Louisiana sugarcane to justify a precision agricultural management approach.

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