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Publication #SSAGR221

Maturity Curves and Harvest Schedule Recommendations for CP Sugarcane Varieties1

Robert A. Gilbert, James M. Shine, Jr., Jimmy D. Miller, Ronald W. Rice, and D. C. Odero2

Introduction

Given present milling capacity in south Florida, a full five months (October to March) are required to process the 450,000 acres planted to sugarcane. Sugarcane is grown in four counties (Glades, Hendry, Martin and Palm Beach) in Florida, with the majority of the production area extending in a 30-mile wide arc directly south and east of Lake Okeechobee (Figure 1). Some sugarcane must be harvested before achieving maximum sucrose levels to sustain early-season (October – November) milling operations. “Early maturing” varieties are preferentially harvested during this time, recognizing that they may not have reached their peak sucrose content, but may have higher sucrose content than other later-maturing varieties (Miller and James, 1977).

Researchers in South Africa (Bond, 1982), Louisiana (Legendre, 1985; Legendre and Fanguy, 1975; Richard et al., 1981), and Mauritius (Mamet and Galwey, 1999) have used information on sucrose content at the time of harvest to develop “maturity curves” for individual varieties. While the effect of variety on sugarcane sucrose accumulation rates has been well established, maturity curves for Canal Point (CP) sugarcane varieties have not been reported since 1977 (Miller and James, 1977; Rice, 1974). CP varieties account for greater than 70% of Florida sugarcane acreage, and are also economically important (Tew, 2003) in many countries including Argentina (25% of total acreage), Belize (16%), El Salvador (50%), Guatemala (65%), Honduras (47%), Mexico (15%), Morocco (54%), Nicaragua (75%), Senegal (9%), and Venezuela (9%). Although most sugarcane growers in Florida plant a diverse selection of newer varieties, a lack of maturity curves makes it difficult to make informed harvest scheduling decisions. This fact sheet summarizes sucrose accumulation characteristics among commercial CP varieties in Florida and provides harvest scheduling recommendations.

Methodology

The data for this analysis were collected from experiments conducted at five locations (University of Florida Everglades Research and Education Center, Hundley, Lakeview, Sundance and Hillsboro farms) in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). Soil types included a Torry muck for the Lakeview location, and Lauderhill muck for the remaining four sites. Harvest data were collected from October to March during 4 consecutive seasons (1998/1999 to 2001/2002). Harvest samples were collected at approximately 2-week intervals, commencing on October 14 of each season and ending by March 27 the following year. For this discussion, harvest dates within any given season represent the number of days after October 14. Maturity curves describing sugar per ton of sugarcane biomass (SPT, lbs sugar/ton) at 25 (early-season; Nov. 8), 75 (mid-season; Dec. 28), and 125 (late-season; Feb 16) days after onset of harvest were developed for each variety.

Varieties were selected for this study based on either their economic importance (Glaz, 2002) or recent release date. The first two digits in the variety name represent the year the variety was named, usually 7-10 years prior to variety release. Table 1 provides a brief description of the varieties included in this study. Varieties are ordered by release date in tables and figures throughout this article.

Maturity Curves

“Early sugar” is an important characteristic that influences grower adoption of commercial germplasm. SPT values at the onset of the harvest season (October 14) are presented in Table 2. CP 80-1743, CP 88-1762 and CP 89-2143 were notable for their high initial SPT values, which were significantly greater compared to 10, 8 and 11 varieties, respectively, indicating that they would be good choices for October harvest in the EAA. In contrast, CP 88-1834 and CP 89-2377 had significantly lower initial SPT values than 11 of 12 varieties, and thus would be poor choices for early harvest. Maturity curves were also used to calculate optimal harvest dates based on maximum SPT for each variety (Table 2). These dates ranged from January 26 (CP 80-1743 and CP 88-1762) to February 22 (CP 85-1382). Maximum SPT ranged from 267 lbs/ton (CP 88-1834) to 308 lbs/ton (CP 89-2143). Miller and James (1977) reported maximum SPT for 6 varieties at dates ranging from February 24 to May 17. The average maximum SPT for the 6 varieties in their study was 281 lbs/ton compared to 279 lbs/ton for the 13 varieties included in this study. It appears that maximum SPT for CP varieties has not changed greatly over the last 25 years, but the date of maximum SPT has shifted earlier in the harvest season. An exception to this is CP 89-2143, which has raised the standard for SPT levels significantly in recent years, causing lower SPT varieties to become less acceptable to growers.

Maturity curves for varieties included in this study are presented in Figures 2-4. CP varieties named from 1970-1979 are included in Figure 2, varieties named from 1980-1985 in Figure 3 and varieties named from 1986-1990 in Figure 4. At the first sampling date, CP 70-1133 SPT was greater than or equal to that of CP 72-1210, CP 72-2086 and CP 78-1628, but thereafter SPT for CP 70-1133 increased at a notably slower rate over time (Figure 2). In contrast, the SPT of CP 72-2086 exceeded these varieties during the late-season harvest period. CP 72-2086, used as a standard in the CP breeding program, is known for slow early-season growth, but has maintained its acreage in the EAA due to favorable late-season performance. CP 80-1743 recorded superior early-season SPT compared to other varieties named from 1980-1985 (Figure 3), but its relative SPT ranking decreased as the harvest season progressed. CP 89-2143 had clearly superior SPT compared to other varieties at all 11 sampling dates (Figure 4). CP 88-1834 and CP 89-2377 were notable for their poor SPT, particularly during the early-season.

Harvest Recommendations

While the calculation of maturity curves for individual varieties is informative, the relative ranking of a given variety in comparison to others is required to optimize harvest scheduling decisions. Table 3 presents SPT for each variety for early-season (25 days after Oct. 14), mid-season (75 days) and late-season (125 days) harvest dates, along with the variety ranking for each harvest period. The final column represents harvest schedule recommendations based on the change in variety ranking over time. For example, since the relative ranking of CP 70-1133 was highest early in the season (rank=8) compared to mid-season (rank=10) or late-season (rank=12), CP 70-1133 receives an early-season harvest recommendation. Other varieties that are recommended for early-season harvest based on these criteria are CP 80-1743 and CP 88-1762. Varieties that had their highest rank in mid-season included CP 78-1628 and CP 84-1198. Late-maturing varieties included CP 72-1210, CP 72-2086, CP 80-1827, CP 88-1508 and CP 89-2377. The ranks of CP 89-2143 (first) and CP 88-1834 (last) remained consistent throughout all harvest periods. CP 89-2143 should be planted by growers interested in increasing the sucrose content of their sugarcane crop, while CP 88-1834 is a poor choice for sugar production in the EAA. While the consistently high rank of CP 89-2143 would suggest that it could be harvested throughout the season, its excellent post-freeze characteristics (Shine et al., 2001) compared to other commercial varieties indicate that it should be reserved for late harvest.

The most current grower census (Glaz, 2002) indicates that the 3 varieties with the highest early SPT rankings, (CP 89-2143, CP 88-1762 and CP 80-1743), are also the varieties with the greatest expansion of plant cane acreage. In contrast, recently-released varieties with poor early-season SPT (CP 88-1834 and CP 89-2377) have been planted on < 1% of the Florida sugarcane acreage. Varieties with < 1% acreage in the latest census (CP 72-1210, CP 85-1382, CP 88-1508, CP 88-1834 and CP 89-2377) had an average SPT of 188 lbs/ton in mid-October, while the remaining 8 varieties in this study (with higher adoption rates) averaged 210 lbs/ton. Growers are factoring SPT trends into their variety planting decisions. Maturity curve information contained in this fact sheet provides growers with a tool to make informed harvest scheduling decisions for these varieties.

Conclusions

Considerable genetic and temporal variability underlying sucrose accumulation trends was documented for CP sugarcane varieties. For the 8 CP varieties included in this study that are commercially grown in Florida, growers are advised to harvest CP 70-1133, CP 80-1743 and CP 88-1762 in the early-season, CP 78-1628 and CP 84-1198 mid-season and CP 72-2086 and CP 80-1827 in the late-season. CP 89-2143 has superior SPT throughout the 5-month harvest season, and should be planted by growers interested in increasing sucrose concentration of their sugarcane crop.

In addition to this summary article, fact sheets presenting more detailed variety-specific maturity curves are available on EDIS. If you are interested in the full length journal version of this publication please refer to Gilbert et al., 2004.

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Robert Taylor, Mr. Matthew Duchrow, Mr. Vincent Sampson, and Mr. Henry Westcarth in sample collection and processing.

References

Bond, R.S. 1982. Maturity differences between varieties in the selection programme. Proc. Ann. Cong. S. African Sugar Technol. Assoc. 56:136-139.

Gilbert, R.A., J.M. Shine, Jr., J.D. Miller and R.W. Rice. 2004. Sucrose accumulation and harvest schedule recommendations for CP sugarcane cultivars. Crop Management (April 2, 2004) http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/pub/cm/research/2004/sugarcane/

Glaz, B. 2002. Sugarcane variety census: Florida 2001. Sugar Journal. 65(3):35-39.

Legendre, B.L. 1985. Changes in juice quality of nine commercial sugarcane varieties grown in Louisiana. J. Am. Soc. Sugarcane Technol. 4:54-57.

Legendre, B.L. and H. P. Fanguy. 1975. Relative maturity of six commercial sugarcane varieties grown in Louisiana during 1973. Sugar Bull. 53(2):6-8.

Mamet, L.D. and N.W. Galwey. 1999. A relationship between stalk elongation and earliness of ripening in sugarcane. Expl. Agric. 35:283-291.

Miller, J.D. and N.I. James. 1977. Maturity of six sugarcane varieties in Florida. Proc. Am. Soc. Sugar Cane Technol. 7:107-111.

Rice, E.R. 1974. Maturity studies of sugarcane varieties in Florida. Proc. Am. Soc. Sugarcane Technol. 4:33-35.

Richard, C. A., F.A. Martin, and G.M. Dill. 1981. Maturity patterns of several Louisiana sugarcane varieties. J. Am. Soc. Sugarcane Technol. 8:62-65.

Shine, Jr., J.M., R.A. Gilbert and J.D. Miller. 2001. Post-freeze performance of 16 sugarcane cultivars following the December 31, 2000 freeze event in Florida. Sugar Journal 64(1):21-22.

Tew, T.L. 2003. World sugarcane variety census – year 2000. Sugar Cane International March/April 2003:12-18.

University of Florida. 2003. Sugarcane Handbook. UF/IFAS Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database. Online. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/TOPIC_BOOK_Sugarcane_Handbook

Figure 1. 

Map of the sugarcane production area in Florida (shaded).


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 2. 

Sugar per ton (Y) versus harvest date (X) for CP clones 70-1133, 72-1210, 72-2086, and 78-1628.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 3. 

Sugar per ton (Y) versus harvest date (X) for CP clones 80-1743, 80-1827, 84-1198, and 85-1382.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 4. 

Sugar per ton (Y) versus harvest date (X) for CP clones 88-1508, 88-1762, 88-1834, 89-2143, and 89-2377.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Tables

Table 1. 

Florida sugarcane acreage and description of the CP varieties included in this study.

CP

Variety

2001 acreage

( % of total)a

Photo/descriptionb

70-1133

2.8

Former widely-grown variety, slowly being phased out of industry due to low sugar content and susceptibility to rust. [Image]

72-1210

<1

Former widely-grown variety phased out due to susceptibility to rust, yellow leaf virus and ratoon stunting disease.

72-2086

13.8

Widely adapted to S. Florida. Slow early growth but good post-freeze characteristics. [Image]

78-1628

11.5

Most widely-grown variety on mineral soils in Florida. [Image]

80-1743

25.1

Vigorous tillering characteristics and well-adapted to mechanical harvest. Most widely-grown variety on muck soils (and overall) in Florida. [Image]

80-1827

5.1

Source of mechanically cut seed cane. Good post-freeze characteristics. [Image]

84-1198

4.8

Large stalk weight, easily uprooted. [Image]

85-1382

<1

Poor ratooning ability. Preferred host of West Indian Cane Weevil.

88-1508

<1

Very erect variety, low sugar content.

88-1762

6.2

Large stalk weight, high plant population, subject to lodging. [Image]

88-1834

<1

Susceptible to pineapple disease. Low sugar content.

89-2143

3.5

High sugar content and vigorous growth and tillering characteristics. [Image]

89-2377

<1

High tonnage but brittle stalks. Resistant to ratoon stunting disease.

Total acreage:

73%

(467,000 total acres)

aSource: (Glaz, 2002)

bSource: (UF, 2003)

Table 2. 

Sugar per ton (SPT) at harvest onset (October 14), maximum SPT, and estimated date of maximum SPT for recently-released CP sugarcane varieties.

CP Variety

SPT on October 14

Maximum SPT

Maximum SPT Date

70-1133

207

268

Feb 2

72-1210

195

283

Feb 1

72-2086

204

290

Feb 14

78-1628

207

288

Jan 28

80-1743

219

274

Jan 26

80-1827

209

279

Feb 21

84-1198

197

276

Feb 1

85-1382

199

272

Feb 22

88-1508

204

279

Feb 10

88-1762

215

282

Jan 26

88-1834

171

267

Feb 9

89-2143

223

308

Feb 11

89-2377

171

273

Feb 10

Table 3. 

Variety SPT (lbs sucrose/ton) and rank at 25 (Early-Season; Nov. 8), 75 (Mid-Season; Dec. 28) and 125 (Late-Season; Feb. 16) days after onset of the harvest season in Florida, and harvest recommendation based on change in variety rank.

CP

Variety

SPT

Ranka

SPT

Rank

SPT

Rank

Harvest Period

Recommendation

 

25 days (Nov. 8)

75 days (Dec. 28)

125 days (Feb. 16)

 

70-1133

231

8

262

10

268

12

Early

72-1210

230

9

274

5

281

4

Late

72-2086

235

5

277

4

290

2

Late

78-1628

241

4

281

2

285

3

Middle

80-1743

242

3

270

6

272

10

Early

80-1827

233

6

267

9

279

5

Late

84-1198

229

10

268

8

275

8

Middle/Late

85-1382

224

11

258

12

271

11

Early/Late

88-1508

232

7

269

7

279

6

Late

88-1762

243

2

277

3

279

7

Early

88-1834

207

13

254

13

266

13

None recommended

89-2143

255

1

296

1

308

1

Early, Middle & Lateb

89-2377

210

12

259

11

273

9

Late

aRank: 1=highest, 13=lowest.

bLate harvest preferred due to excellent post-freeze characteristics.

Footnotes

1.

This document is SS-AGR-221, one of a series of the Agronomy Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Published April 2004. Reviewed July 2007 and November 2012. This publication is also a part of the Florida Sugarcane Handbook, an electronic publication of the Agronomy Department. For more information, contact the editor of the Sugarcane Handbook, Ronald W. Rice (rwr@ufl.edu). Please visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Robert A. Gilbert, professor, Agronomy Department, Everglades REC-Belle Glade, FL; James M. Shine, Jr., Sugar Cane Grower's Cooperative of Florida, 1500 W. Sugar House Rd, Belle Glade, FL 33430; Jimmy D. Miller, courtesy professor (retired), Agronomy Department, USDA-ARS, Sugarcane Field Station, 12990 US Hwy 441, Canal Point, FL 33438; Ronald W. Rice, Sugar Cane Grower's Cooperative of Florida, 1500 W. Sugar House Rd, Belle Glade, FL 33430; D. C. Odero, assistant professor, Agronomy Department, Everglades Research and Education Center, Belle Glade, FL.

The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. UF/IFAS do not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication does not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.