U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Sugarcane yields do not respond to phosphorus fertilizer in ratoon crops of LCP 85-384 in Louisiana

Richard M. Johnson, Howard P. Viator, Jay C. Stevens, Brenda S. Tubaña
Journal of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists 2017 v.37 no. pp. 1-12
Saccharum, developmental stages, fertilizer application, field experimentation, growers, harvesting, hybrids, juice quality, leaves, phosphorus, phosphorus fertilizers, ratooning, sensors (equipment), soil horizons, soil profiles, soil properties, soil sampling, sugarcane harvesters, sugarcane juice, sugars, yield components, Louisiana
The effects of phosphorus fertilizer on sugarcane (interspecific hybrids of Saccharum Spp. cv. 'LCP 85-384') yield components and soil properties were evaluated at seven locations in Louisiana. Five rates of phosphorus fertilizer (0 - 84 kg P2O5 ha-1) were applied to first-, second and third-ratoon commercial sugarcane fields in Louisiana. Soil samples were collected prior to fertilizer application and after harvest and sugarcane leaf samples were collected during the grand growth stage. All experimental plots were harvested with a single row, chopper harvester and a field transport wagon equipped with electronic load sensors to determine cane and sugar yields. Sugarcane juice quality was determined from a random cane sample in each plot. Our results demonstrated that phosphorus fertilizer did not show a consistent positive influence on cane or sugar yields. Soil properties data showed that significant increases in soil phosphorus levels did occur in the surface layer (0-15 cm) with P levels increasing from 14 to 28 mg kg-1. No increases were observed deeper within the soil profile (15-30 cm). Small increases in plant phosphorus were observed, but were only significant for one rate (average over locations). These combined data suggest that there is no justification for the application of phosphorus fertilizer to LCP 85-384 in Louisiana. Although, it is possible that different results would be obtained if higher levels of soil phosphorus were applied, it is more likely that LCP 85-384 does not respond to phosphorus fertilizer, an observation reported from many Louisiana sugarcane growers. Additional research should be conducted to evaluate the phosphorus response of newly released varieties, as they may respond more favorably to phosphorus fertilizer.