The application of nutrients to ratoon crops harvested late in the season might be reduced in order to improve nutrient use efficiency and reduce input costs without affecting productivity.
- Late harvested ratoon crops are generally impacted by less favourable climatic conditions, often with the onset of the wet season (or drought conditions in some regions) shortly after harvest.
- Late harvested crops could potentially have reduced productivity, increased nutrient losses and, consequently, are less likely to respond to nutrient inputs than crops ratooned and fertilised earlier in the season.
- Lawes et al. (2002) showed that the time of ratooning had a large influence on cane yield, with crops ratooned after October yielding significantly less than those ratooned earlier in the season. The impact on yields due to harvesting late in the season has been supported by Di Bella et al. (2008), McDonald et al. (1999) and Moller (1975).
- The following information could be considered when refining nutrient rates using Steps 5 & 6 of the SIX EASY STEPS for crops harvested and ratooned late in the season.