Flowering cane in Zululand
21:39 (GMT+2), Thu , 07 August 2014
Larry Bentley

AT this time of the year, flowering cane can be seen on most  elds, but only certain varieties will flower if the weather conditions are ideal during March.

The flowering can affect crop yield and quality if not managed properly.

Flowering acts as a natural ripener because it prevents stalk growth and can improve cane quality in the short term.

Conditions promoting flowering are shorter days to approximately 12.5 hours, average day temperatures of 28°C and night temperatures above 18°C.

Another factor is good soil moisture.

All these factors come into play in Zululand, especially in early March.

Flowering is also a genetic trait and is dependent on cane variety.

Maanaging flowering cane

Flowered fields will generate higher sucrose yields in June, July and August than non-flowered fields.

Cane should be harvested before September / October if flowering is more than 20% .
If flowering is less than 20% then it can be carried over to the next season, but the stalk yield will be lower than the stalk yield from non-flowered cane.

However, in the case of eldana infestation, do not carry-over the cane.

Instead harvesting of these fields should be a priority.

Be careful not to over-estimate the stalk yield of  owered cane.

Stalks that have already flowered will not respond to chemical ripeners.

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