MSIRI Crop report - end Feb. 2008

> MSIRI Crop report - end Feb. 2008

(posted on 6/3/08)


MAURITIUS SUGAR INDUSTRY RESEARCH INSTITUTE                

 

SUGAR CANE CROP 2008

 

Status: End February 2008

 

1.              RAINFALL

The islandís average rainfall of 270 mm over the sugar cane areas for the month of February 2008 represented 82% of the long-term mean (331 mm).  Sector-wise, rainfall was also below the respective long-term mean of the month with 148 mm in the North, 287 mm in the East, 353 mm in the South, 112 mm in the West and 373 mm in the Centre.  These amounts represented 60%, 85%, 96%, 51% and 80% of the long-term mean of these sectors, i.e. 245 mm, 336 mm, 366 mm, 219 mm and 464 mm respectively.

Rainfall for the period October 2007 to February 2008 amounted to 758 mm.  This is 20% lower than the long-term mean (948 mm) of the island for that period.  During that same period, 467 mm were recorded in the North, 881 mm in the East, 908 mm in the South, 375 mm in the West and 930 mm in the Centre.  With respect to the respective long-term mean of the sectors, cumulative rainfall represented 72% in the North, 91% in the East, 82% in the South, 68% in the West and 72% in the Centre.  The respective long-term mean stands at 651 mm, 965 mm, 1111 mm, 549 mm, 1288 mm and 948 mm.

Though deficient against the long-term mean, rainfall has been sufficient to meet the monthly crop water requirement in the East, South and Centre but slightly lacking for the rainfed crops of the North and West.

2.              Stalk height

Cane growth was assessed during the last week of February 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 February 2008 was inferior to that of the same period in 2007 and also to that of the normal in all sectors. Growth during the month of February amounted to 42.3 cm in the North, 43.6 cm in the East, 42.5 cm in the South, 42.9 cm in the West and 35.5 cm in the Centre.  For the same period, growth was below normal by 9.9 cm in the North, 7.0 cm in the East, 10.1 cm in the South, 7.2 cm in the West and 4.5 cm in the Centre. The 42.0 cm average for the island represented 93.4% of elongation recorded in February 2007 (45.0 cm) and 84.1% of the normal (50.0 cm).

 

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

2008

2007

Normal

North

42.3

44.7      94.6*

52.2     81.0**

East

43.6

44.0     99.1*

50.6     86.2**

South

42.5

46.1    92.2*

52.6      80.8**

West

42.9

51.6    83.1*

50.1     85.6**

Centre

35.5

39.1   90.8*

40.0     88.7**

Island

42.0

45.0    93.4*

50.0    84.1**

* end February 2008 data expressed as a percentage of end-February 2007

** 2007 data expressed as a percentage of mean of 5 highest cane yielding years during past ten years

2.2           Cumulative Elongation

Growth from end-December 2007 to end-February 2008 amounted to 67.9 cm in the North, 86.4 cm in the East, 84.5 cm in the South, 71.8 cm in the West and 72.8 cm in the Centre.  These cumulative growths were lower than those of 2007 by 10.9 cm (13.8%) in the North, 12.0 cm (12.2%) in the East, 9.6 cm (10.2%) in the South, 23.6 cm (24.7%) in the West and 14.7 cm (16.8%) in the Centre.  For the same period, growth was below normal in all sectors; i.e. by 18.4 cm in the North, 9.4 cm in the East, 20.1 cm in the South, 18.7 cm in the West and 5.9 cm in the Centre.  Island-wise the cumulative elongation of 78.9 cm lagged behind that of the 2007 crop (91.2 cm) by 13.5% and the normal (93.1 cm) by 15.2%.

 

Table 2B. Cumulative elongation (cm) at end February 2008 (cm)

2008

2007

Normal

North

67.9

78.9      86.2*

86.3     78.6**

East

86.4

98.4     87.8*

95.8    90.2**

South

84.5

94.1    89.8*

104.6      80.8**

West

71.8

95.4    75.3*

90.5     79.3**

Centre

72.8

87.5   83.2*

78.7     92.5**

Island

78.9

91.2    86.5*

93.1    84.8**

2.3           Total cane height 

Total stalk height, as at end-February 2008, stood at 89.8 cm in the North, 132.7 cm in the East, 125.8 cm in the South, 105.3 cm in the West and 115.9 cm in the Centre.  Compared to the same period in 2007, cane was shorter by 13.4 cm in the North, 9.7 cm in the East, 15.3 cm in the South, 23.4 cm in the West and 12.3 cm in the Centre.  Total cane height at the end of February 2008 was below the normal by 26.6 cm (22.8%) in the North, 5.5 cm (4.0%) in the East, 30.6 cm (19.5%) in the South, 12.6 cm (10.7%) in the West and 10.5 cm (8.3%) in the Centre.

Island-wise the total cane height of 116.6 cm at end-February 2008 was inferior to that at end-February 2007 by 13.9 cm (10.7%) and that of the normal by 16.5 cm (12.4%).

 

Table 2C. Total cane height as at end February 2008 (cm)

2008

2007

Normal

North

89.8

103.2      87.0*

116.4     77.2**

East

132.7

142.4     93.2*

138.2     96.0**

South

128.8

141.1    89.2*

153.4      80.5**

West

105.3

128.7    81.8*

117.9    89.3**

Centre

115.9

128.2   90.4*

126.4     91.7**

Island

116.6

130.5    89.3*

133.1    87.6**

3.              CROP 2008

Despite the relatively conducive weather experienced during February, a slower growth rate was observed compared to those of both 2007 and the normal.  The beneficial effect of the weather, namely a better rainfall distribution, has been observed only in the North and West sectors when the comparison is made against the January growth.  Thus the setback relative to total height of the 2007 crop and to the normal has not changed with a difference of about 15 cm, representing about 12% still persisting.  This is a cause for concern as usually the growth rate generally recedes as from the month of March.  Complete recovery may prove difficult but is still possible if very favourable weather conditions are experienced until the end of the elongation phase.