Best Management Practices for Sugarcane Following a Freeze

Kenneth Gravois, Legendre, Benjamin L.  |  4/4/2017 1:02:29 PM

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High Quality Cane Supply - Cane that is as free of mud, tops and other trash will greatly help processing at the mill. When a freeze occurs, keep the following facts in mind.

  • Areas of higher elevation tend to be warmer. A few degrees of temperature can make a difference during a freeze event. Areas on the farm at higher elevation will have less freeze damage.
  • Varieties make a difference. In years when a freeze event occurs, scientists at the USDA-ARS Sugarcane Research Unit and LSU AgCenter conduct freeze tolerance tests among commercial sugarcane varieties. These data along with industry experience allow for sugarcane variety ratings for cold tolerance. Click for Variety Ratings
  • Topping and cleaning cane. Where possible with straighter cane, growers have a better opportunity to top and clean all harvested cane. For combines, run the fans aggressively and keep good blades on the choppers.
  • Standing cane vs. down cane. Within the same variety, standing cane has less freeze damage than cane that is lodged. Lodged cane of a freeze tolerant variety can deteriorate more quickly than an erect stand of a sugarcane variety with poor cold tolerance. Cold air sinks and lodged cane has longer exposure to colder temperatures.
  • Yield potential. Better cane with higher yield potential will withstand a freeze better than cane with a thin stand.

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