The evaluation of the spatial and temporal stability of sugarcane farm performance based on yield and commercial cane sugar

Lawes, R.A., Wegener, M.K., Basford, K.E., and Lawn, R.J. (2004) The evaluation of the spatial and temporal stability of sugarcane farm performance based on yield and commercial cane sugar. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 55 (3). pp. 335-344.

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In broader catchment scale investigations, there is a need to understand and ultimately exploit the spatial variation of agricultural crops for an improved economic return. In many instances, this spatial variation is temporally unstable and may be different for various crop attributes and crop species. In the Australian sugar industry, the opportunity arose to evaluate the performance of 231 farms in the Tully Mill area in far north Queensland using production information on cane yield (t/ha) and CCS (a fresh weight measure of sucrose content in the cane) accumulated over a 12-year period. Such an arrangement of data can be expressed as a 3-way array where a farm × attribute × year matrix can be evaluated and interactions considered. Two multivariate techniques, the 3-way mixture method of clustering and the 3-mode principal component analysis, were employed to identify meaningful relationships between farms that performed similarly for both cane yield and CCS. In this context, farm has a spatial component and the aim of this analysis was to determine if systematic patterns in farm performance expressed by cane yield and CCS persisted over time. There was no spatial relationship between cane yield and CCS. However, the analysis revealed that the relationship between farms was remarkably stable from one year to the next for both attributes and there was some spatial aggregation of farm performance in parts of the mill area. This finding is important, since temporally consistent spatial variation may be exploited to improve regional production. Alternatively, the putative causes of the spatial variation may be explored to enhance the understanding of sugarcane production in the wet tropics of Australia.

Item ID: 5901
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1836-5795
Keywords: 3-way analysis; regional variation; sugarcane
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2010 05:03
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070302 Agronomy @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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