Review of Productivity Trends in the Herbert Sugarcane Growing Region

Garside, A.L. (2013) Review of Productivity Trends in the Herbert Sugarcane Growing Region. Report. Herbert Cane Productivity Services, Townsville, Queensland.

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This review was initiated by the Herbert Cane Productivity Services (HCPSL) limited in order to identify the major reasons for highly variable productivity in recent years. The review encompassed the collation and analysis of productivity data held by HCPSL, interpretation of the analyses, and interviews with growers. In general the outcomes clearly indicated that water management (seasonal conditions, drainage, water logging), various aspects of harvesting (groups too big, harvesting too fast, not enough adjustment for seasonal conditions/ geographic harvesting, cane loss) and season length (the harvest season being too long) were the main factors influencing productivity in the Herbert. Suggestions are made as to how these issues may be addressed. Although it is acknowledged that varieties are an important part of any production system it is demonstrated that their influence on the large season to season variability in productivity is relatively minor.

The following recommendations are made:

Recommendation 1: The large amount of variety performance data on different soil types in different seasons held by HCPSL warrants collation and analysis in order to objectively assess whether different varieties are suited to different soil types and regions.

Recommendation 2: The importance of seasonal conditions in November as they affect the subsequent crop needs to be fully appreciated and strategies adopted to minimise their impact.

Recommendation 3: The difference in climatic regimes between the Ingham Line area (and Upper Stone) and other areas needs to be recognised and if necessary different production strategies put in place.

Recommendation 4: The most suitable varieties for Ingham Line may well be different to those for other areas and this should be taken into account within the variety evaluation program

Recommendation 5: Emphasis should be placed on the development of mound planting for the wetter areas.

Recommendation 6: The analysis of harvesting losses in the current crop and harvesting practices on the productivity of the next crop needs to be continued and expanded. It is a critical area of investigation.

Recommendation 7: The harvest season should be adjusted to aim for the crushing to finish by the end of October with the current practice of setting a starting date to be replaced by setting a finishing date. This recommendation will obviously require an earlier starting date and probably staggered harvesting based on geographical and equity considerations but should not be dismissed out of hand.

Item ID: 28363
Item Type: Report (Report)
Keywords: Sugarcane, yield, CCS, productivity
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Funders: Sugar Research and Development Corporation, Herbert Cane Productivity Services
Projects and Grants: Herbert Water Quality Project
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2013 04:58
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070302 Agronomy @ 80%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070305 Crop and Pasture Improvement (Selection and Breeding) @ 20%
SEO Codes: 82 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8203 Industrial Crops > 820304 Sugar @ 100%
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