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Row spacing and planting density effects on the growth and yield of sugarcane. 2. Strategies for the adoption of controlled traffic.

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Garside, A.L., Bell, M.J. and Robotham, B.G. (2009) Row spacing and planting density effects on the growth and yield of sugarcane. 2. Strategies for the adoption of controlled traffic. Crop and Pasture Science, 60 (6). pp. 544-554.

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/CP08312

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/


Controlled traffic (matching wheel and row spacing) is being promoted as a means to manage soil compaction in the Australian sugar industry. However, machinery limitations dictate that wider row spacings than the standard 1.5-m single row will need to be adopted to incorporate controlled traffic and many growers are reluctant to widen row spacing for fear of yield penalties. To address these concerns, contrasting row configuration and planting density combinations were investigated for their effect on cane and sugar yield in large-scale experiments in the Gordonvale, Tully, Ingham, Mackay, and Bingera (near Bundaberg) sugarcane-growing regions of Queensland, Australia. The results showed that sugarcane possesses a capacity to compensate for different row configurations and planting densities through variation in stalk number and individual stalk weight. Row configurations ranging from 1.5-m single rows (the current industry standard) to 1.8-m dual rows (50 cm between duals), 2.1-m dual (80 cm between duals) and triple ( 65 cm between triples) rows, and 2.3-m triple rows (65 cm between triples) produced similar yields. Four rows (50 cm apart) on a 2.1-m configuration (quad rows) produced lower yields largely due to crop lodging, while a 1.8-m single row configuration produced lower yields in the plant crop, probably due to inadequate resource availability (water stress/limited radiation interception). The results suggest that controlled traffic can be adopted in the Australian sugar industry by changing from a 1.5-m single row to 1.8-m dual row configuration without yield penalty. Further, the similar yields obtained with wider row configurations (2 m or greater with multiple rows) in these experiments emphasise the physiological and environmental plasticity that exists in sugarcane. Controlled traffic can be implemented with these wider row configurations (>2 m), although it will be necessary to carry out expensive modifications to the current harvester and haul-out equipment. There were indications from this research that not all cultivars were suited to configurations involving multiple rows. The results suggest that consideration be given to assessing clones with different growth habits under a range of row configurations to find the most suitable plant types for controlled traffic cropping systems.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:QPIF
Additional Information:© CSIRO Publishing.
Keywords:Multiple rows; row configuration; soil compaction; cane harvesters.
Subjects:Plant culture > Field crops > Sugar plants
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soil conservation and protection
Live Archive:14 Aug 2009 04:24
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:48

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