MSIRI Sugar Cane Crop Report - End March 2008

> MSIRI Sugar Cane Crop Report - End March 2008

(posted on 8/04/08)


MAURITIUS SUGAR INDUSTRY RESEARCH INSTITUTE

3 April 2008

SUGAR CANE CROP 2008

Status: End March 2008

 

1. RAINFALL

 

The islandís average rainfall of 538 mm over the sugar cane areas for the month of March 2008 represented 213% of the long-term mean (252 mm). Sector-wise, rainfall was well above the respective long-term mean for the month with 461 mm in the North, 714 mm in the East, 477 mm in the South, 272 mm in the West and 663 mm in the Centre. These figures represented 286%, 294%, 147%, 243% and 197% of the long-term mean of these sectors, i.e. 161 mm, 243 mm, 325 mm, 112 mm and 337 mm respectively.

 

Total rainfall for the period October 2007 to March 2008 amounted to 928 mm in the North, 1595 mm in the East, 1385 mm in the South, 647 mm in the West and 1593 mm in the Centre to give an island average of 1296 mm. These amounts represented 114%, 132%, 96%, 98%, 98% and 108% of the respective long term mean for that period which stood at 812 mm, 1208 mm, 1436 mm, 661 mm, 1625 mm and 1200 mm.

 

Even if rainfall recorded during the month of March has been well above the normal, water logging has occurred only for a short period as a fair amount of that rainfall was received as torrential rain during a relatively short time span in association with the passage of tropical storm Lola. Thus excess water has been lost rapidly as surface runoff.

 

2. STALK HEIGHT (TABLE 2A AND 2B)

Cane growth was assessed during the last week of March 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

Growth during the month of March exceeded that recorded during the corresponding period in 2007, amounting to 51.1 cm in the North, 45.0 cm in the East, 48.2 cm in the South, 48.9 cm in the West and 40.5 cm in the Centre. The additional elongation represented 21.6 cm, 21.8 cm, 20.4 cm, 21.8 cm and 18.3 cm in the respective sector. Compared to the normal for the same period, growth was also superior in all sectors by 5.0 cm in the North, 1.8 cm in the East, 1.6 cm in the South, 2.4 cm in the West and 1.2 cm in the Centre. The 47.3 cm average for the island was 79.6% above that of 2007 (26.3 cm) and 6.0% above the normal (44.6 cm).

 

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

2008

2007

Normal

North

51.1

29.5     173.2*

46.1     110.8**

East

45.0

23.2     194.0*

43.2     104.3**

South

48.2

27.8    173.4*

46.6      103.5**

West

48.9

27.1    180.4*

46.5    105.2**

Centre

40.5

22.2   182.4*

39.3     103.2**

Island

47.3

26.3    179.6*

44.6    106.0**

 

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

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

 

2.2 Cumulative Elongation (Table 2b)

Cumulative growth from end-December 2007 to end-March 2008 amounted to 119.0 cm in the North, 131.4 cm in the East, 132.7 cm in the South, 120.7 cm in the West and 113.3 cm in the Centre. These cumulative growths were higher than those of 2007 by 10.7 cm (9.9%) in the North, 9.8 cm (8.1%) in the East, 10.8 cm (8.9%) in the South and 3.6 cm (3.3%) in the Centre whereas in the West it was below that of 2007 by 1.8 cm (1.5%). For the same period, growth was below the normal in all sectors by 13.5 cm in the North, 7.6 cm in the East, 18.5 cm in the South, 16.3 cm in the West and 4.7 cm in the Centre. Island-wise the cumulative elongation of 126.2 cm was higher than that of the 2007 crop (117.5 cm) by 7.4% but lagged behind the normal (137.7 cm) by 8.4%.

 

Table 2B. Cumulative Elongation at end-March 2008 (cm)

2008

2007

Normal

North

119.0

108.3     109.9*

132.5     89.8**

East

131.4

121.6     108.1*

139.0     94.5**

South

132.7

121.9    108.9*

151.2      87.8**

West

120.7

122.5     98.5*

137.0     88.1**

Centre

113.3

109.7   103.3*

118.0     96.0**

Island

126.2

117.5    107.4*

137.7    91.6**

 

2.3 Total cane height (Table 2c )

Total stalk height, as at end-March 2008, stood at 140.9 cm in the North, 177.7 cm in the East, 174.0 cm in the South, 154.2 cm in the West and 156.4 cm in the Centre. Compared to the same period in 2007, cane was taller by 8.2 cm in the North, 12.1 cm in the East, 5.1 cm in the South and 6.0 cm in the Centre whereas in the West it lagged by 1.6 cm. Total cane height at the end of March 2008 was below the normal in all sectors, namely by 21.6 cm (13.3%) in the North, 3.7 cm (2.0%) in the East, 28.9 cm (14.3%) in the South, 10.2 cm (6.2%) in the West and 9.3 cm (5.6%) in the Centre. Island-wise the total cane height of 163.9 cm at end-March 2008 was above that of end-March 2007 by 7.1 cm (4.5%) but below the normal by 13.8 cm (7.8%).

 

Table 2C. Total Cane Height at end-March 2008 (cm)

2008

2007

Normal

North

140.9

132.7     106.2*

162.5     86.7**

East

177.7

165.6     107.3*

181.4     98.0**

South

174.0

168.9    103.0*

202.9      88.7**

West

154.2

155.8     99.0*

164.4     93.8**

Centre

156.4

150.4   104.0*

165.7     94.4**

Island

163.9

156.8    104.5*

177.7    92.2**

 

 

3. CROP 2008

Weather during the month of March has been on the whole very favourable, especially the good rainfall regime, to cane growth as reflected by the above normal rates of elongation recorded in all sugarcane sectors. Thus total cane height has completely overtaken, with an advantage of 4.5% (7.1 cm), that corresponding to the same period last year. However compared with the mean of the five best cane yielding years of the last ten years (normal), total cane height is still lagging behind by 13.8 cm (7.8%). With the soil moisture reserve still plentiful, another fortnight of vigorous growth may be anticipated, and may well enable full recovery in terms of total cane height compared to the normal. The torrential rains received on 26 March 2008 have affected mostly the plant cane crops recently planted and thus will not negatively affect the 2008 crop which to-date tends to be a normal one in terms of cane productivity.