Master of Science (MS)


Plant, Environmental Management and Soil Sciences

Document Type



The effect of tillage and weed control programs on ‘LCP 85-384’ sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids) growth and yield and on economics was evaluated over two growing seasons. When row shoulders and middles were not tilled in March soil temperature in the non-cultivated sugarcane drill early in the growing season was equal to that where March tillage was performed. Sugarcane and sugar yield were each equivalent for the full season tillage (off-bar tillage in March plus layby tillage in May) and the no-till program. Weeds were effectively controlled with a March application of hexazinone at 0.59 kg ai/ha plus diuron at 2.10 kg ai/ha. For the no-till program with herbicide banded in March compared with full season tillage, net return was increased $32.56/ha. In a subsequent study conducted at five locations sugar yield was increased 8.6% and net return was increased $152.68/ha when sugarcane was not tilled in March. Sugar yield was increased 8.0% and net return was increased $143.88/ha when layby tillage in May was eliminated. Mechanical removal of crop residue remaining on the soil surface three weeks after harvest of LCP 85-384 with a combine harvester was compared with burning. Tillage efficiency in March was not reduced when the residue was mechanically removed from the row top and placed in the row middle. Sugar yield was reduced an average of 7.9% when sugarcane residue was not removed compared with mechanical removal or burning in December. Research was expanded to also include mechanical removal of sugarcane residue in January, February, or March. For each residue removal treatment off-bar tillage in March (with or without) was included. Allowing crop residue to remain on the soil surface until March reduced both early season sugarcane height and shoot population when compared with December residue removal. Sugar yield was equivalent when crop residue was removed in December by burning or mechanically and averaged 8,670 kg/ha. Delaying mechanical removal of residue until February or March decreased sugar yields an average of around 13% compared with December burn or mechanical removal.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

James L. Griffin