Orgeron, A.1; Gravois, K.2; Hebert, B.3; Foster, M.4
1Area Pest Management Specialist, LSU AgCenter, Thibodaux, LA, 70301
2Sugarcane Specialist, LSU AgCenter, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803
3Area Sugarcane Agent, LSU AgCenter, New Iberia, LA, 70560
4Area Sugarcane Agent, LSU AgCenter, Gonzales, LA, 70737


A. Orgeron1, K. Gravois2, B. Hebert3, M. Foster4

1Area Pest Management Specialist, LCES, Southeast Region, Hammond, Louisiana 70422

2Sugarcane Specialist, LCES, Sugar Research Station, St. Gabriel, Louisiana 70776

3Area Sugarcane Agent, LCES, New Iberia, Louisiana 70560

4Area Sugarcane Agent, LCES, Gonzales, Louisiana 70737



Sugarcane is a perennial crop that is commercially produced in 24 Louisiana parishes.  Research has shown the greatest potential for soil loss occurs during the fallow period and in the plant-cane crop prior to sugarcane root proliferation.  Reducing soil loss and improving soil health has been the focus of cover crop research in other agronomic crops in the U.S., but little research has been done on sugarcane grown in Louisiana.  Crop productivity and profitability must also be considered.  A mixture of Sunn Hemp, Bulleye Radish, and Rapeseed was drill-planted at 28, 9, and 9 pounds per acre, respectively, on the row hips of a newly planted St. Mary Parish sugarcane field in October 2017 to evaluate the impact of cover crops on sugarcane yield.  The trial was harvested in December 2018 by a mechanical combine that placed the sugarcane biomass into a weigh wagon.  Biomass weight was used to estimate sugarcane yield (tons of sugarcane per acre).  A subsample of 10 stalks was taken from each plot to estimate sucrose content.  Sugarcane yield and sucrose content were used to estimate sugar yield (pounds of sugar per acre).  Sugar yield was significantly greater, providing an additional 7.1 tons of sugarcane and 1,437 pounds of sugar per acre for the cover crop treatment as compared to the standard.  After the additional expenses associated with the costs of growing a cover crop was taken into account, the cover crop treatment provided an additional $135.47 of revenue per acre.

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