MAURITIUS SUGAR INDUSTRY RESEARCH INSTITUTE
8 January 2008
SUGAR CANE CROP 2008
Status: End December 2007
Rainfall recorded during December 2007 was well below the long-term mean in all sectors of the island. The island average of 68 mm represented only 33% of the long-term mean (204 mm) for the sugar cane areas. Rainfall recorded in December was 16 mm in the North, 86 mm in the East, 91 mm in the South, 39 mm in the West and 84 mm in the Centre. These amounts represented 12%, 41%, 37%, 34%, and 32% of the long-term mean for these sectors, i.e. 132 mm, 209 mm, 249 mm, 114 mm, and 263 mm respectively.
Cumulative rainfall for the period October to December 2007 reached 108 mm in the North, 303 mm in the East, 264 mm in the South, 92 mm in the West and 291 mm in the Centre, which represented 49%, 82%, 58%, 56% and 62% of the respective long-term mean. The island average rainfall of 227 mm for this period represented 63% of the long-term mean of 360 mm.
Rainfall received was insufficient to meet the water requirements of rainfed crops during the month of December in all sectors in Mauritius.
2. Stalk height
Initial measurements of stalk height were carried out during the last week of December 2007 at 48 sites in the five sugar cane sectors of the island. These sites are representative of the various agro-climatic zones, varieties, and crop categories. The measurements are compared to those of the corresponding period in December 2006 and to the mean of the five best cane yielding years of the last ten years in each sector (referred to as normal).
Stalk height at end December 2007 was 21.9 cm in the North, 46.3 cm in the East, 41.3 cm in the South, 33.5 cm in the West and 43.1 cm in the Centre. Compared to the corresponding period in 2006, cane height at end December 2007 was slightly taller in the East by 2.3 cm and in the Centre by 2.4 cm, was comparable in the West whereas in the North and South it was lagging behind by 2.5 cm and 5.7 cm, respectively.
Cane height in December 2007 exceeded the normal by 1.2 cm in the East and by 6.4 cm in the West. In the other sectors, it was below normal by 5.1 cm in the North, 8.0 cm in the South and 2.1 cm in the Centre.
At Island level, the cane height of 37.7 cm as at end-December 2007 was shorter than that at the corresponding period in December 2006 and the normal by 1.6 cm (4.1%) and 5.4 cm (12.5%) respectively.
3. CROP 2008
Even though cumulative rainfall for the period October to December was above that recorded during the same period for the 2007 crop, stalk height was lagging behind that of last year at the same period in the North, South and Centre. A slight advantage is observed in the East most probably on account of the earlier end of harvest in this sector in 2007. The biggest difference between 2006 and 2007 data is found in the South where harvest ended late in December. Thus on average for the island, cane height is behind both, that of 2006 and the normal. However, this delayed growth can still be compensated for if weather conducive to growth prevails in the coming months and no extreme climatic conditions are experienced.