Sugarcane Fallow Weed Control Program – Producer Decision Aid

Michael Deliberto, Hilbun, Brian M., Griffin, James L., Salassi, Michael  |  6/18/2018 12:55:12 PM

Sugarcane is a perennial crop with seedcane expansion, initial crop planting and succeeding harvests occurring over a period of several years. The fallow period in this production cycle is one in which the older stubble crop is plowed out in late winter/early spring and the field is prepared for planting in late summer later that same year. The control of weeds during the fallow period is critical to the success of the succeeding sugarcane crop.

The fallow period is also that portion of the sugarcane production cycle in which producers have the most flexibility or options in terms of specific tillage practices and weed control programs to be used. Many different combinations of tillage practices are currently being used by producers to plow out the older stubble and for seed bed preparation. A wide variety of herbicides are available for curbing weed pressure in fallow fields. As a result, the choice of specific tillage operations and herbicides applications directly impact the variable cost per acre of any fallow program. This Microsoft® Excel spreadsheet producer decision aid was developed so as to assist sugarcane producers in planning their fallow programs. The cost of current and alternative fallow programs can be estimated within the program (for comparison purposes).

The primary purpose of this model is as a farm planning aid available to sugarcane producers. Tillage/herbicide combinations planned for the coming year can be entered into the model. Total variable cost (TVC) per acre for a fallow program will then be estimated based for the data entered. Here, TVC includes charges for fuel, labor and those herbicide utilized as inputs for operations performed within a fallow program. Sugarcane producers can use this model to determine the specific combination of tillage operations and herbicide applications performed which would meet the goals of obtaining the desired level of weed control at the lowest cost per acre.

This user’s guide provides a brief overview of the Sugarcane Fallow Weed Control Program Producer Decision Aid. The spreadsheet model includes a blank fallow program entry worksheet for the user. One additional worksheet is included so as to provide an example of model data entry for an alternative fallow program. The Sugarcane Fallow Weed Control Program Producer Decision Aid Microsoft® Excel spreadsheet model and user’s guide is available on the sugarcane crop page of the LSU AgCenter web page at http://www.lsuagcenter.com/topics/crops/sugarcane/economics.

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