Phosphorus in Drainage Water from Sugarcane in the Everglades Agricultural Area as Affected by Drainage Rate
- F. J. Coale *,
- F. T. Izuno and
- A. B. Bottcher
Sugarcane (interspecific hybrids of Saccharum spp.) is grown on 78% (156,000 ha) of the cultivated organic soils of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) of southern Florida. Recently, the EAA has come under scrutiny because of concerns with the impact of nutrient-rich drainage water from organic soils on the ecology of adjoining bodies of water and wetlands. The objectives of our research were to determine the effects of field drainage rate on P concentration and off-field P loads in drainage water from sugarcane grown on organic soils of the EAA and to determine the effect of field drainage rate on sugarcane productivity and sugar yield. The research site was on a Terra Ceia muck soil (euic, hyperthermic Typic Medisaprist) on a commercial sugarcane farm located in the EAA. The treatments were fast and slow field drainage rates. Nine drainage events were monitored between Nov. 1988 and Aug. 1990. Average drainage water total P (TP) and total dissolved P (TDP) concentrations were significantly higher for the slow drainage rate treatment. In order to minimize off-farm P loading, main-farm canal water should be discharged off-farm while field drainage water is retained on-farm. Field drainage rate should be fast and drainage event duration should be as short as possible. Plant-cane crop yield and yield component data were not collected. The first-ratoon crop total aerial dry weight and harvested sugarcane and sugar yields were not affected by drainage rate.
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