MSIRI Sugarcane Crop report - end Jan. 08

> MSIRI Sugarcane Crop report - end Jan. 08


                                                                                                                                        6 February 2008





Status: End January 2008


1.       RAINFALL

Rainfall recorded over the sugar cane areas of the island in January 2008 was 261 mm and it represented 101% of the long-term mean.  The January rainfall exceeded the long-term mean by 25 mm (13%) in the North, 31 mm (12%) in the East and 4 mm (2 %) in the West.  In the South, rainfall for the month was similar to the long-term mean whereas in the Centre it was inferior to the normal by 88 mm (25%).

Rainfall for the period October 2007 to January 2008 amounted to 488 mm.  This is 21% lower than the long-term mean (617 mm) of the island for that period.  During that same period, 319 mm were recorded in the North, 594 mm in the East, 555 mm in the South, 263 mm in the West and 557 mm in the Centre.  These amounts represented 79%, 94%, 74%, 80%, and 68% of the respective long-term mean.

January 2008 has been characterized by heavy downpours that contributed in alleviating the soil moisture deficit that had developed during November and December in rainfed crops, especially in the low-lying areas.

2.       Stalk height

Cane growth was assessed during the last week of January in the 48 sites representative of the five sugar cane sectors of the island.  These sites cover the various agro-climatic zones, varieties under cultivation and stages of development of the crop.  Data collected are compared with the mean of the five best cane yielding years of the last ten years in each sector, referred to as normal, and to the corresponding period in 2007.

2.1     Stalk elongation

Stalk elongation during the month of January 2008 was inferior to that of the same period in 2007 and also to that of the normal in all sectors.  During January 2008, best growth was observed in the East with 42.8 cm followed by 42.0 cm in the South, 37.3 cm in the Centre, 28.9 cm in the West and 25.6 cm in the North.  Compared to the normal for the same period, growth was lower by 8.5 cm in the North, 2.4 cm in the East, 10.0 cm in the South, 11.5 cm in the West and 1.4 cm in the Centre.  The stalk elongation of 36.9 cm for the island was lower than that of the corresponding period in 2007 by 9.3 cm (20.2%) and that of the normal by 6.2 cm (14.4%).


Table 2A. Stalk Elongation during January 2008 (cm)






34.1      75.1*

34.1     75.1**



54.4     78.7*

45.2     94.6**



48.0    87.5*

52.0      80.7**



43.8    66.0*

40.4    71.6**



48.4   77.1*

38.7     96.4**



46.2    79.8*

43.1    85.6**

*End-January 2008 data expressed as a percentage of end-January 2007

**End-January 2008 data expressed as a percentage of mean of 5 highest cane yielding years during past ten years

2.2     Total cane height

Total cane height at end January 2008 was 47.5 cm in the North, 89.1 cm in the East, 83.3 cm in the South, 62.4 cm in the West and 80.4 cm in the Centre to give an island average of 74.6 cm.  Compared to the corresponding period in January 2007, cane height at end January 2008 was lagging in all sectors; 11.0 cm in the North, 9.3 cm in the East, 11.7 cm in the South, 14.7 cm in the West and 8.7 cm in the Centre.  Compared to the mean of the five highest cane yielding years of the past 10 years, total cane height at the end of January 2008 was lower by 11.5 cm (19.5%) in the North, 20.5 cm (19.7%) in the South, 5.4 cm (7.9%) in the West and 6.0 cm (6.9%) in the Centre whereas in the East it was slightly higher by 1.5 cm (1.7%).

At island level, total cane height was lower than that of the corresponding period in 2007 by 10.9 cm (12.8%) and that of the normal by 8.6 cm (10.3%).


Table 2B. Total cane height as at end January 2008 (cm)






58.5      81.2*

59.0     80.5**



98.4     90.5*

 87.6     101.7**



95.0    87.7*

103.8      80.3**



77.1    80.9*

67.8    92.1**



89.1   90.2*

86.4     93.1**



85.5    87.2*

83.2    89.7**

3.       CROP 2008

The overall dry weather experienced during the months of November and December coupled with the relative late ending of harvest in some sectors prevented normal crop development and delayed the onset of elongation, especially for fields harvested after mid-October.  Those most affected are the North and West where drastic reductions in irrigation occurred due to water shortages.  The biological factors associated with late harvest and environmental ones were responsible for the generally lower growth rates observed during January even if the weather had been favourable.  This is clearly reflected by the total cane height at the end of January being generally lower than the normal and that of crop 2007 at the same period.  However, the recorded elongation setback can still be compensated for if favourable weather conditions prevail during the remaining months of the growth period.