To investigate the effect of harvester speed on subsequent cane yields and nitrogen use efficiency
There is clear evidence that yield decline in older ratoons has increased at a significantly faster rate since the introduction of mechanical harvesting during the 1960s and 70s. Pre-mechanical harvesting it was not uncommon for a cane crop cycle to last for more than 10 years without any significant loss of yield. However, currently the average crop cycle lasts for approximately 5 years and during that time productivity declines by about 20%. There is evidence to suggest the production loss is even greater depending on soil types and cane varieties, particularly at high harvester speeds.
This investigation will determine production loss and the effect on NUE in differing soils and varieties harvested at varying speed greater than the optimal.